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  • Data Recovery from an ReFS disk

The ReFS file system (Resilient File System) was developed by Microsoft as a substitute for their current file system, NTFS. Initially introduced with Windows Server 2012, it was aiming at gradual migration to all Microsoft Windows operating systems - both desktops and servers. For the desktops, Windows 8.1 was the first Windows that supported this file system. The earlier Windows 10 editions could also work with ReFS, but then Microsoft started gradually discontinuing support for this file system from Windows 10. The ability to create ReFS volumes was removed in Windows 10's 2017 Fall Creators Update, and now it remains only in Windows Enterprise and Pro for Workstations editions. Microsoft continues support for ReFS in Windows 11 Enterprise, Education, and Workstation editions, and in their Server line.

Although ReFS has some features to help solve many internal file system issues, it still isn't completely prone to data loss - especially when such a loss is caused by human error. That's why data recovery from ReFS disks is an important feature in any professional data recovery software.

R-Studio is not an exception. All of its versions are able to recover data from ReFS storage devices.

Important Notes Before We Begin
This article only applies to ReFS formatted devices. If you need to recover data from other disks, see our other articles:

Your disk is in good physical condition
We presume that your disk is in good physical shape. If not, it's best to seek out the services of a professional data recovery specialist. Beyond checking that the cables are firmly connected, any "do it yourself" data recovery efforts may actually worsen your chances of recovering the data if your disk has a serious physical malfunction. Signs that a disk has a physical failure include:

  • The system does not recognize the device at all, or it appears with an unusual or garbled name.
  • A S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology) utility warns that a severe hardware failure event has occurred. R-Studio can check S.M.A.R.T. conditions of your disk, and we explain how to do that below.
  • The hard drive makes unusual noises, clicks, or takes a very long time to spin up and initialize.
  • Bad blocks continually appear on the drive.

All these cases are best handled by qualified data recovery professionals. They have special equipment, software, and, most importantly, the required skills to work with such drives. Neither R-Studio nor other data recovery software will help you in such cases. Moreover, any further tampering with such a drive will surely inflict more damage to your data. Quite often, such damage will render the data completely irrecoverable.

  • Before you begin, prepare a storage place large enough to store all recovered files. It may be any disk visible by the operating system including an external or network drive. Do not try to save the files on the disk from which you're going to recover them.
  • If you haven't already, download and install R-Studio. Right now, it is not necessary to buy and register the program. R-Studio in its demo mode allows you to perform all the necessary data recovery operations, except saving the recovered files. This lets you see if it can successfully recover your files and therefore, if it's worth buying. You will not have to re-install or restart R-Studio to register it.
  • Connect the disk to the R-Studio computer. Use the fastest interface available: the SATA ports are the fastest, but the speed of USB 3 is sufficient. USB 2.0 may be too slow for large disks. Please note that some external USB drives may have additional eSATA interfaces.

And one last reminder...
Do not write anything on the disk from which you're going to recover data! The new data may overwrite your old files, and you may lose them for good.

This article will discuss how to use it to recover data lost by two most common cases. The first case is data recovery from emptied system Trash. The second one is an accidental format of an ReFS partition into another ReFS partition.

Case 1: Several files / folders were moved to Trash and then the Trash was emptied.
The folder/file structure and files/folders to delete
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The folder/file structure and files/folders to delete
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The task: To recover these files and folder.

1. Run R-Studio and locate the disk with the ReFS partition.
The ReFS partition
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2. Enumerate files on the partition and inspect the file system in order to find the deleted files and folders.
File system on the ReFS partition and files deleted from the root folder
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Two files deleted from the device root are immediately found in their original places. You can preview them to check their recovery chances. Double-click a file to preview it.
File previewer in R-Studio
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3. Locate other deleted files and folders.
Deleted files and folder marked for recovery
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Next, mark found files and folders for recovery and click the Recover Marked button.

4. Specify the output folder and recovery parameters on the Recover dialog box and click the OK button.
File recovery parameters
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You can find more information about these parameters in R-Studio's online help: Basic File Recovery.

> R-Studio will start the data recovery process, showing its progress,
Data recovery progress
Click image to enlarge and when it's over, you can view your recovered files and folders in the Output folder.
Files recovered from the root folder
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Files and folder recovered from the Photos folder
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Files recovered in the SF folder
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Case 2: An existing ReFS partition was erroneously formatted into a new ReFS partition.

The task: To recover files from the lost partition and its entire folder structure, if possible.

1. Run R-Studio and locate the disk with the new partition.
The new ReFS partition
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First, we'll try to find the lost partition by using the fast search for partition option. Click the Partition Search button and wait for the results.

2. Locate the previous partition.
The previous ReFS partition
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3. Open this partition to inspect its content.
Content of the found previous partition
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Unfortunately, nothing is found on this partition. We have to continue disk scan in order to find either some remnants of the previous partition or raw files (Known File Types).

4. Return to the Device view tab, click the Scan button and specify scan parameters.
Scan parameters
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Click the Change button for the File System field and leave only ReFS selected. You can also specify Known File Types (raw files) to search for, depending on the types of files resided on the lost partition. You can read more about these parameters in R-Studio's online help: Drive Scan.

It's also a good idea to save scan info, as it can be necessary to interrupt scan process and resume it later. The saved scan info can be loaded at a later date and the scan will be resumed from the point where it was interrupted.

Click the Scan button when you have specified all the necessary parameters.

> R-Studio will start scanning the disk showing its progress.

5. Inspect the scan results when the scan is over.
Scan results
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6. Enumerate files on the scanned new ReFS partition by double-clicking it and inspect the results.
Files found on the scanned new partition
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Files from the previous partition could be found only by their signatures, therefore all their names, paths, and other attributes have been lost. R-Studio places such files to the Extra Found Files section and tries to use their internal tags to give them meaningful names. Unfortunately, the initial folder structure could not be recovered at all.

Once again, you may preview files to verify that the files aren't broken. Just double-click a file.
File previewer in R-Studio
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7. Mark files for recovery and click the Recover Marked button.
Files marked for recovery
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8. Specify the output folder and recovery parameters and click the OK button.
Recovery parameters
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You can find more information about these parameters in R-Studio's online help: Basic File Recovery.

R-Studio will start file recovery showing its progress.
File recovery progress
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You may see the recovered files when recovery is over.
Recovered files
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Tests in this article have shown that R-Studio can be used to recover data from ReFS disks. In the first case (deleted files) all files and folder have been successfully recovered. In the second case (disk format) all files have been successfully recovered, but as raw files, that is, without their names and other attributes. The entire folder structure has not been recovered at all due to the fact that the metadata of the new partition has been written over the metadata of the old partition.

You may perform all these steps in the demo mode to R-Studio, that is, without buying it. If you can successfully find and preview lost files, you can register your copy of R-Studio and save the recovered files.

Data Recovery Feedback
370 feedbacks
Rating: 4.8 / 5
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