Microsoft removes ReFS file system create option from Windows 10 Pro

Martin Brinkmann
Aug 21, 2017
Windows, Windows 10

Microsoft will remove support for creating ReFS (Resilient File System) storage devices for all versions of Windows 10 except for Windows 10 Enterprise and the upcoming Windows 10 Pro for Workstations in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update.

The company published a list of features that will be deprecated or removed in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update in July.

This list was updated by Microsoft on August 17, 2017 to reflect the decision to pull ReFS create support from most Windows 10 editions.

refs removal fall creators update

Creation ability will be available in the following editions only: Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Pro for Workstations.

Creation ability will be removed from all other editions. All other editions will have Read and Write ability.

What this means is that administrators cannot select the ReFS file system anymore when they format drives or change file systems of drives.

Microsoft introduced the Resilient File System in Windows Server 2012, and added support for the file system in Windows Server 2016 and all editions of Windows 8.1 and 10.

Setup is not as easy as selecting ReFS as a the file system though, as you need to create virtual disks, initialize them together, and use Storage Spaces to create a storage pool to select ReFS as the file system for the storage pool.

ReFS offers several advantages over NTFS such as integrity checks, protection against data degradation, handling of long paths, storage virtualization, and built-in hard drive redundancy and disk failure protection.

While all editions of Windows 10 keep support for interacting with existing ReFS storage solutions, the option to create ReFS storage is limited to Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Pro for Workstation when the Fall Creators Update gets released.

Microsoft revealed the upcoming Windows 10 Pro for Workstations edition in 2017 and plans to make it available at the same time it releases the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update.

Windows 10 Pro for Workstations has only a handful of differentiating factors when compared to Windows 10 Pro. In fact, most of the differences Microsoft listed during the announcement were part of Windows 10 Pro as well.

This changes with the planned update and the removal of the ReFS create ability on Windows 10 Pro.

Did Microsoft do that to entice companies to pick the -- probably more expensive -- Windows 10 Pro for Workstations edition?

Closing Words

It looks as if Windows 10 Pro is slowly turned into a Windows 10 Semi-Pro edition that sits between Windows 10 Home and the editions of Windows 10 designed for business and enterprise use. (via Ask Woody)

Microsoft removes ReFS file system create option from Windows 10 Pro
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Microsoft removes ReFS file system create option from Windows 10 Pro
Microsoft will remove support for creating ReFS (Resilient File System) storage devices for all versions of Windows 10 expect Enterprise and Pro for Workstations.
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  1. Moira Maclean said on August 24, 2022 at 5:43 pm

    The day we can install production-line quality Linux softwares that do not require compiling them ourselves while juggling with dozen of esoteric switches to make them work at all, while the smartasses supposed to help us do nothing but bark « MAN ! MAN ! MAN ! » like rabid chihuahuas, then yes we’ll swap to Linux with glee. But as long as the Linux biome will be a toxic morass of neckbearded angry nerds, we’ll have to stick to Windows.

    There’s a joke about Linuxers in the Windows world : « If you lock in a room 10 Linux devs during a week-end, with the goal to improve Linux, come Monday you’ll find 10 corpses who savagely killed each other, 10 different distros of the same Linux, and none of them will have agreed to work together to piss a single line of code to actually improve Linux. »


  2. MadMax said on August 17, 2019 at 3:14 am

    Typical Microsoft

    “The Lord giveth, and the LORD taketh away”

    A power until their-self who care only about profit – to hell with the customers

  3. Stefan said on August 23, 2017 at 5:18 pm

    Why not have a feature that remove Microsoft completely ?

  4. LD said on August 21, 2017 at 7:50 pm

    My question is why would I spent big bucks buying new gen hardware if only certain hardware features are only going to be accessible to specific W10 licenses? The new gen hardware is optimized for W10, according to both MS and the OEMs, but if I do not have a first class or a business class ticket on the USS Microsoft, the OS will restrict access to certain new features.

    My business does not qualify for an Enterprise license. This license is kind of like being high born in a class structure. The Workstation Pro license is for the upper working class – medium size business willing to pay more for a few perks.

    Unfortunately, Home users are now obviously steerage. I have a Pro license (very small business) and I guess that makes me, well, middle class. I am getting the impression that this means that every W10 feature build that comes along will be like a crap shoot for us. Tnx MS.

    1. Manther76 said on August 21, 2017 at 8:29 pm

      The GNU/Linux distributions treat all of their customers the same, like Kings who can do whatever they would like with the software they just freely obtained. Need Enterprise features? use them all for the same price of FREE! Don’t need any of them? Don’t worry about how much extra you paid to have access, because you didn’t pay any extra!

      Legitimately, in this Windows 10 world, I think that it is true that you have to be stupid, ignorant or malicious to think that continuing to use Microsoft Products is anything other than foolish.

      1. George said on August 21, 2017 at 10:07 pm

        Again -sigh- it’s not about foolish, unconditional love for MS, but for having to use quality software that comes ONLY for Windows. It seems this is hard to comprehend for Linux hard-core fans.

      2. CHEF-KOCH said on August 21, 2017 at 9:18 pm

        It’s simply impossible to satisfy all user needs, there always people complaining and whining. That’s no an Microsoft exclusive ‘problem’.

        As said it’s hyped and no one really needs it, especially because the mentioned problems (which still exist since 20 ReFS versions) – yes you heard right ReFS is/was work in process, till MS at some point made it ‘final’.

  5. CHEF-KOCH said on August 21, 2017 at 7:42 pm

    ReFS isn’t worth the hype:
    * Encryption problems
    * A normal user will never notice or mess with the file system
    * Windows store apps are not ReFS compatible. (I know killer argument)
    * Stability, there less fallbacks in case ‘shit happens’ which mostly ends up with errors
    * ZFS is better
    * There is no support for NTFS features like per-file compression nor encryption. Full disk encryption with BitLocker seems to be supported, but’s bugged.
    * Some programs might fail to start because compatibility issue.
    * Slower (as for now then NTFS) try to copy bigger files.

    There tons of more problems, it’s not worth the hassle – pls MS give up on it and don’t waste time. There better systems already and there open source.

    1. James D said on August 23, 2017 at 11:00 am

      I use Paint and I like it. Now it’s deprecated. People can say whatever excuses they want to defend stripping it off but that won’t change a fact that I like it and want it. Period.

  6. Kevin said on August 21, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    Selling people a product and then retroactively pulling features from it, in order to push existing users to buy an upgrade to continue to enjoy the functionality that they initially got out-of-the-box should be illegal. Actually, I’m pretty sure that it is. Not that something being illegal has ever stopped a large company before.

    People like to claim that you’re not “buying” Windows, so this somehow makes all of this shady conduct okay, but that’s exactly what the buttons on Newegg (“Buy now”), not to mention the text on the sales receipt say.

    I’ll stick to using Btrfs on Linux for a file system with guaranteed data integrity. It is stable, as long as you don’t use Raid 5/6 modes. Or if you are feeling adventurous, you can always give ZFS a try. I’ve been tempted to do this, its not hard at all; just install the packages and go. But I’m scared off by the alleged higher system specifications to obtain good performance.

    1. Greg Collins said on September 23, 2017 at 9:19 am

      No ZFS doesn’t have high system specs with unless you enable deduplication. I’m running ZFS on a 2007 HP XW6600. It had dual Xeon E5462 4 core cpus passmark 3900 each and 32GB 8 stick memory under Win 7 64. I installed BSD with ZFS and reviewed the performance logs and found it had never used even 10% of the cpu’s and just a few hundred mb memory,so I pulled out 4 sticks of memory and installed one Xeon E5410 passmark 3300 and it has never used much more than 15% cpu running full blast or more than a few hundred mb memory except during scrub when if hits about 14 gb memory. I also have ZFS in a Dell T20 with 4GB single channel 1 stick memory and 2 Core Pentium G3220 passmark 3200 and it seems to run fine but it’s running in semi-natively in Linux instead of BSD and I don”t have detailed monitoring logs. I have had many performance and stability issues with BTRFS a hopelessly tangled mess of a filesystem that SUSE seems to have foolishly pinned it’s hopes on and still uses XFS for data. BTRFS and REFS do however support a lot of features that ZFS doesn’t and probably never will. ZFS system are generally more sluggish thatn other filesystems for general use. Oracle itself the developer of ZFS has dropped active development of ZFS and uses XFS as default in Oracle Linux as does Red hat. It does seem absurd in 2017 filesystems arguably the foundation of the OS are on the backburner. I would like to see MS put more effort on making a well done refs default and I’m soon going to deploy REFS on my main computer an HP i5 desktop/workstation I’m converting to a XEON workstation/server under Win 10 so this new is a little disappointing to me. I already ordered the ECC memory and Xeon cpu for the upgrade to Win 10 refs. I’m getting sick and tired of Linux/BSD issues, constant compatibility/dependency/stability issues and total lack of real world useful apps. The problem with ZFS is truly fully native under Oracle ZFS and the limited feature set so it’s not really useful outside of archive/storage and server use under Oracle and to a lesser extent BSD it hacked into Linux and all the effort (dead end in my opinion) is going into expanding XFS and futile effort to make BTRFS stable and Raid. REFS has worked in server 2012 and 2016 as even Suse the biggest supporter of BTRFS doesn’t use it for storage/database/high write use after many years of heavy development, only for OS snapshots and even then it subject heavy defrag issues. XFS doesn”t have a modern feature set of even data checksums and Oracle backing XFS and somewhat BTRFS over it’s own ZFS. REFS seems to have a few quirks and limitations but has active development and support if I was MS I would expand and accelerate REFS unless it has some flaw that would crash a lot if it was more widely deployed. Photo archiving is important to me so data integrity is important, although NTFS and ZFS have worked well for me so far. I only use simple mirror raid and ecc no striping or depuplication.

      1. Greg Collins said on September 23, 2017 at 9:50 am

        I should add that ECC is recommended for ZFS which may be a deal breaker for many, since even i3 and AMD A4, Pentium G low end AMD FX etc. will have no problem running ZFS. Since even many Atom and low end Pentiums support ecc the only other issue is chip set and memory but I just ordered 16GB DDR3 memory for $49 so that just leaves the motherboard/chipset as a main stumbling block to ZFS with ecc for a modern computer, if you don’t want or can’t use an older server/workstation with Xeon/ECC. HP Z220 supports ECC if you have a Xeon and of course ECC memory and they have usb 3.0, sata III, and late version pcie etc. plenty of SATA/E-sata ports and they are bargain off lease and corporate trade-ups and come in 3 form factors.

    2. Christopher Cox said on August 22, 2017 at 6:06 pm

      I don’t think anyone is going to take Microsoft to court (we’re all too afraid), but you could argue this is classic “bait and switch” at the very very least.

  7. someone said on August 21, 2017 at 12:45 pm

    and this is one of the ways Microsoft makes windfall profits…

  8. HK-Rapper said on August 21, 2017 at 10:50 am

    Surely a clever person would now use an old installation media and boot to CMD to use diskpart?

    I will never get why they are insisting so much to stick to NTFS. Linux does it better again with EXT4 and Btrfs.

  9. Corky said on August 21, 2017 at 10:50 am

    Welcome to the future of Windows where features get removed on a whim and you have no choice, i honestly feel sorry for people who’ve bought into Microsoft’s vision, at least in the past you knew you’d have 10 years before any major changes had to be implemented, now you could be faced with having to adapt to major changes every 6 months.

  10. George said on August 21, 2017 at 10:36 am

    I’ve been hearing about this miraculous new file system that prevents data rot since the days of Vista/Longhorn…? Guess it’s never going to happen for ‘normal’ users: we are stuck with NTFS.

  11. Emil said on August 21, 2017 at 10:07 am

    I have been wondering if ReFS+Storagespaces would be a better solution than Intel RAID, guess we’re not going to find out now.

    1. AnorKnee Merce said on August 21, 2017 at 12:04 pm

      Will M$ also deprecate Win 10 Home and come out with a Win 10 Starter, eg remove Cortana, Windows Hello or Continuum from Win 10 Home.?

      Eg Win 10 Starter Retail license = US$109; and Win 10 Home Retail license = US$149.

      M$ have deprecated Win 10 Pro into Win 10 S. Btw, what is the cost of a Win 10 S Retail license.?

      1. Max said on August 22, 2017 at 5:28 am

        Cortana is a good source of user information and “telemetry,” they won’t remove that from any version.

  12. Anonymous said on August 21, 2017 at 10:01 am

    For the 02 Aug 2016 Win 10 Anniversary Update/Version 1607, M$ purposely deprecated Win 10 Pro’s Group Policy Editor, in order to push the SMBs onto Win 10 Ent subscriptions. When that move failed, M$ recently introduced the more expensive Win 10 Pro for Workstations in Aug 2017. This time, to again push the SMBs onto Win 10 Pro W or Win 10 Ent subscriptions, M$ purposely further deprecated Win 10 Pro’s ReFS.
    ……. M$ seems very pushy. Imagine how much more goodwill M$ would have “profited” if they weren’t so pushy and greedy.

    Win 10 Pro Retail license costs US$199 each, which can buy you a new Intel Atom Win 10 Home 2-in-1 touchscreen tablet. How preposterous! A fair price would have been about US$50 for a Win 10 Pro Retail license, since a comparable Linux distro like Ubuntu and Linux Mint, can be gotten for free.
    ……. Is it worth buying Win 10 Pro now? Are M$ super-greedy or profit gouging? What is the profit margin for the Windows Licensing Division?

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