Let’s have a look on Windows File system…

Windows File System Components:-

Here is main components of windows file systems:-



File Systems


History of windows file systems:-


MBR vs. GPT Partitions:-

Windows offers two different disk-partitioning options: Master Boot Record (MBR) and Globally Unique Identifier Partition Table (GPT). GPT is only supported since Windows Vista/Windows Server 2008 (though x64 versions of XP and Server 2003 could also use GPT).


FAT, FAT 32, and exFAT File Systems:-

Once you have created a partition, you are ready to format the volume so that Windows can create files and folders on the drive.

Windows supports many file systems, some which you may not encounter on a regular basis. These are CDFS, UDF, FAT12, FAT16, FAT32, exFAT, and NTFS. The most commonly used are NTFS and exFAT.

While some of these file systems have been in place for many years, we still rely on them for everyday use, such as when employing USB thumb drives that are formatted with a version of the FAT file system.


The FAT file system driver used by Windows is in the following location: %SystemRoot%\System32\Drivers\Fastfat.sys.


The native file system used by Windows is NTFS (New Technology File System), and although it is significantly more complex than FAT, it offers sysadmins the ability to protect and secure the vast majority of files stored on enterprise servers throughout the world. Part of the design criteria for NTFS was that it must possess features to qualify as an enterprise-class file system.

In the following list includes some of the characteristics of NTFS in Windows:-

Introduced in Windows NT

File-level compression

Per-user volume quotas

Symbolic links and junction points

Volume sizes up to 256TB

232-1 files per volume

Maximum file size in Windows NTFS of 16TB

Enterprise-level file and folder encryption

Recoverability by implementation of metadata transactional logging, to ensure file structure can be repaired

Self-healing capabilities

NTFS Symbolic Links:-

symbolic link acts like a shortcut, thereby tricking the application into thinking it is directly accessing the desired file via the hard-coded path, when in reality it is being redirected to the file in a different path.

Here is Example of Symbolic Link:-


Open an administrative command prompt.


Type C:\mklink test.exe %windir%\system32\notepad.exe, then press enter.


Type test.exe.


test.exe launches Notepad via the symbolic link you have created.


Close Notepad.


In the command prompt, type DIR test.exe.


Windows should display the <SYMLINK> identifier and display the path to the target file.

New Windows File system ReFS:-

The Resilient File System (ReFS) is Microsoft’s newest file system, designed to maximize data availability, scale efficiently to large data sets across diverse workloads, and provide data integrity by means of resiliency to corruption. It seeks to address an expanding set of storage scenarios and establish a foundation for future innovations.

Key benefits:-

ReFS introduces new features that can precisely detect corruptions and also fix those corruptions while remaining online, helping provide increased integrity and availability for your data:-

1. Integrity-streams :- ReFS uses checksums for metadata and optionally for file data, giving ReFS the ability to reliably detect corruptions.

2. Storage Spaces integration :- When used in conjunction with a mirror or parity space, ReFS can automatically repair detected corruptions using the alternate copy of the data provided by Storage Spaces. Repair processes are both localized to the area of corruption and performed online, requiring no volume downtime.

3. Salvaging data :- If a volume becomes corrupted and an alternate copy of the corrupted data doesn’t exist, ReFS removes the corrupt data from the namespace. ReFS keeps the volume online while it handles most noncorrectable corruptions, but there are rare cases that require ReFS to take the volume offline.

4. Proactive error correction :- In addition to validating data before reads and writes, ReFS introduces a data integrity scanner, known as a scrubber. This scrubber periodically scans the volume, identifying latent

corruptions and proactively triggering a repair of corrupt data.

Limitations of ReFS:-

You should view ReFS as one tool in your file system toolbox. At present, there are some significant limitations to ReFS, listed below:

Windows boot volume cannot be used with ReFS.

ReFS does not support data reduplication.

There is no support for disk quotas, encryption, and compression.

ReFS is not supported on operating systems prior to Windows 8.1/Windows Server 2012 nor on removable drives.

ReFS Features:-

NTFS vs Refs:-

Here is list of Limits and feature comparison between NTFS and ReFS:-

The following features are unavailable on ReFS at this time:-

File System Tools and Utilities:-


The ChkDsk.exe tool can be used to check for and repair issues found on FAT, FAT32, exFAT, and NTFS volumes. If you are running Windows 8 or later versions, ChkDsk will be able to repair most issues while the volume is still online. Most issues that are found on the boot and system drive will require the drive to be offline, which will require the tool to automatically carry out the repairs at the next system restart (though this can be postponed).

Note:- After successfully identifying a bad area or sector on a volume, the file system marks it as “bad” and hides it from the operating system, so that bad areas are never used again for data storage.

chkdsk /scan C:

If errors are reported, you should attempt to repair the errors by using the following command:

chkdsk /spotfix C:

If the drive is a boot or system volume, ChkDsk will request that the fix operation be performed at the next reboot,

If you are checking a volume formatted with a variety of the FAT file system, you should use the command: chkdsk C: and fix any issues reported with chkdsk c: /F.

Note:- The ReFS system is self-healing and does not require checking with ChkDsk. If you attempt to run ChkDsk on an ReFS volume, you will receive the following response:

C:\Windows\system32>chkdsk /scan d:

The type of the file system is REFS.

The ReFS file system does not need to be checked.


Files stored on traditional disks can become defragmented over time, due to the way in which Windows saves files to the next available space on a disk. Once a file is modified, it is typically not possible to save it back to the exact location again, and so part of the file is saved in the original location, but the other part is located elsewhere on the disk. This gives rise to the noncontiguous storage of files, otherwise known as defragmentation.



Type defrag into the Start screen and select Defragment and optimize your drives.


In the Optimize Drives utility, you can select the hard disk drive that you want to defragment and then click Optimize.

If you prefer to use the command line, you can open a command prompt and type defrag to use the Microsoft Drive Optimizer.

Note:- SSD drives should not be defragmented. Files may become defragmented, but because files on the SSD are accessed at a uniform high speed regardless of the location or drive fragmentation, there is no need to optimize further. In fact, if a flash drive or SSD drive is defragmented, it can significantly reduce the life span of the drive.


A file and registry cleaner will carry out some or all of the following activities:

Scan your system for files left behind by application and uninstallers

Remove unwanted/malicious entries to mitigate registry bloating

Remove outdated or superseded temporary Internet files

Remove incorrect file and program associations

Restore the registry if any maintenance task fails

Defragment the registry to remove any vacant spaces (empty placeholders left behind in the registry)

Repair or remove system files, such as orphaned or shared DLL files, locate device drivers no longer required as well as old ActiveX files

Schedule registry scans, ensuring that the registry is scanned and errors are repaired automatically


The main features of Robocopy, after speed, are the ability to preserve extended attributes, backup capabilities, and restart ability.

For example, if you wanted to move F:\Company Data\Accounting\Payroll to the folder G:\Confidential Data with all the data and retain share and security permissions, you would use the following command:

Robocopy.exe F:\Company Data\Accounting\Payroll G:\Confidential Data /S /COPY:DATS

Other nice features of Robocopy are that it is

Very fast and reliable

Easier to script (though you should use PowerShell in preference to Robocopy, if you are seeking powerful scripting abilities)

Re-tries when errors occur

Copies over more file attributes than Xcopy

Finally, if you are not a command-line junkie and prefer the GUI, you could try the following GUI versions of Robocopy:

Robocopy GUI




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