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NoelC

Experimenting with ReFS on Win 8.1 - it does work!

9 posts in this topic

Today I decided to format a spare 1 TB electromechanical drive that I just use for file backups with the ReFS file system. I figure through experimentation with non-critical data I can get to know the implementation.

Lo and behold Windows 8.1 won't let you select ReFS at the normal Format prompt in DiskMgmt.msc, but there is a way to do it through the recovery console. I managed it...

For those of you unfamiliar with it, there's more on ReFS here:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh831724.aspx

Anyway, I copied about 850 GB of data to the drive (XCOPY)(, then read it back without error in comparison.

ReFS seems to have a general tendency to prioritize writes over reads, so while I was copying data to it, the comparison program read back the data fairly slowly. It was about 8 MB/sec read speed while maintaining 80 MB/sec writes. There was a significant lack of "frantic seeking". I could barely hear the drive at all.

But once the writes completed the reads cooked with gas - as fast as I've seen this drive go: 120 MB/sec.

I suspect the case of copying literally hundreds of gigabytes from a faster source while simultaneously trying to read is probably not common, and that it will work well in normal operation. I'll certainly be continuing to experiment with it.

Here are some interesting screen grabs (hope these come through okay):

DriveE_ReFS_DiskMgmt.png

DriveE_ReFS_Explorer.png

DriveE_ReFS_Properties.png

DriveE_ReFS_CHKDSK.png

The RAM cache seems to work particularly well with this file system. Note this uncached vs. cached performance difference with a benchmark that simulates multiple processes reading and writing...

DriveE_ReFS_DirectIO.png

DriveE_ReFS_CachedIO.png

-Noel

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Do you plan on such conducting experiments on solid state drives as well to what results they yield?

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And besides an assumed increase in speed, what exactly would you expect to get out of such a test?

Cheers and Regards

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I would like to test on SSDs, but at the moment putting more drives into this workstation isn't high on my expenditure list (I already have an array of 4 SSDs in RAID 0 that makes up drive C:). If OCZ would lend me a couple of Vectors to test with, and maybe Samsung would do the same with some Pros...

Testing would be for more than just checking the speed (which, given how well ReFS uses cache with the spinning hard drive, should be phenomenal).

SSDs today are brilliant devices, and they know a lot about the file system being stored on them (though they necessarily must dial that back some to participate in a RAID array). Storing an entirely different file system could yield entirely different, possibly unreliable operation. Therefore testing would also be to verify reliability.

I would love to create a ReFS boot volume on the RAID array to see how the entire system would run from it, but alas that just isn't possible yet. Perhaps in Windows 9.

-Noel

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I would love to create a ReFS boot volume on the RAID array to see how the entire system would run from it, but alas that just isn't possible yet. Perhaps in Windows 9.

-Noel

Yep :), possibly, but Windows 9 will come in a nice set of 25 Blue Rays :yes: and will need 8 Tb just for the minimum install of the OS. :whistle::ph34r:

If you go for the downloadable version it will be like (very rough estimation):

  • 24 hours on fibre
  • 24 days on DSL
  • 24 years on dial up :w00t:

jaclaz

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I'm curious Noel. If ReFS wasn't available in Disk Management, what did you have to do in the recovery console in order to format the drive to ReFS?

Edited by ptd163
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I clicked through Advanced Options et. al. to the command line interface, then used the format /fs:refs command. Note that for experimentation you may want to do some web research and learn for example about the /i:enable flag (for this run I did not do this, as I was interested in the base performance of the ReFS implementation). I believe also that /q (quick) works, though I didn't use it because I wanted a full scan of the disk for errors.

-Noel

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Thanks. The side effects of that particular tweak seem worrisome. Of course, it could be un-tweaked after the format is done.

I have had no problems whatsoever with the volume that I ReFS-formatted. It just does what a good disk should do.

The next really interesting thing will be to see how Windows itself runs from a ReFS-formatted partition, but that's going to have to wait until next version I guess. It's not possible to boot to such a partition today as far as I can see.

-Noel

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