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Can You Read A ReFS Drive On A Mac?

Updated on Tuesday, May 7, 2024

iBoysoft author Vain Rowe

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Vain Rowe
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[Definite Answer] Can You Read a ReFS Drive on a Mac?

Summary: This article from iBoysoft tells if it is possible to read a ReFS drive on a computer running macOS Sonoma, Ventura, Monterey, or earlier macOS versions in 2 ways highly discussed by users. If you want a definite answer about whether ReFS drive is readable on your device, start your reading now!

is it possible to read a ReFS drive on a Mac

ReFS (Resilient File System) was first introduced with Windows Server 2012 and later implemented in Windows 8.1 in 2013. Unlike the NTFS which is the default file system in most Windows installations, ReFS has been designed for higher-end Windows editions and server environments all along.

With less popularity than NTFS the default Windows file system, ReFS is not the liking of the profit-driven software developers, so there is rare software allowing ReFS to be readable on any non-designated Windows editions.

This post takes the first step in answering how to read ReFS volumes/drive on Mac in effective ways. If you're curious about the answer exactly right, just begin to read it to make it clear.

ReFS basics you should know

You are very familiar with the Apple-designed file systems, such as APFS, HFS+, and HFS, as well as the Microsoft FAT 32, exFAT, and NTFS file systems if you alternate between macOS and Windows frequently. However, because ReFS was created so long ago—in 2012—it is less well-known among users.

Compared to the older NTFS file system, ReFS has better characteristics for resilience, scalability, and data integrity. It will take the place of NTFS as the next-generation file system in the Windows operating system. You can even install Windows 11 on a ReFS partition and test it out right now.

The key purpose of ReFS is to validate and automatically fix data without requiring the use of a separate system-checking program. Unfortunately, ReFS is currently limited to Microsoft platforms, despite being developed with an upper-layer engine that is almost exactly the same as NTFS. Therefore, in order to access files on ReFS volumes from other platforms such as Linux, Mac, and so forth, one needs to have a Windows computer or a virtual machine running a support version of Windows.

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How to read ReFS volumes or drive on a Mac?

Up till now, it's just a blueprint to read and write files to a ReFS drive on a Mac. Only you have a designated Windows and the hardware you can access or copy files from a ReFS drive. There are the two hottest attempts implemented by users, but both of them fail to make ReFS readable on a Mac.

Attempt 1: Install Windows on a Mac (X)

Resilient File System (ReFS), codenamed "Protogon", is a Microsoft proprietary file system introduced with Windows Server 2012 with the intent of becoming the "next generation" file system after NTFS. Does MacOS support mounting and read/write access to ReFS? If so, what are the limitations?

In fact, there are Mac users in many latitudes who are curious about the definitive response to this topic. Regretfully, Microsoft no longer even supports the creation of ReFS volumes on Windows 10. Basically, there isn't really a practical way to access a ReFS drive or volume directly because it was intended to be a "Server-only" file system.

Microsoft desktop and server operating systems, including Windows 8/8.1, Windows 10, and Server 2016 (Technical Preview), and Windows Server 2022, now support this file system.

Attempt 2: Use the Paragon Universal File System Driver (X)

Paragon integrated it with their Windows file system tools, but never for Mac. Paragon is the sole software developer who has spared no effort in working on integrating ReFS file system support into their USFD (Universal File System Driver) technology since 2012. The excellent work -- Paragon Universal File System Driver, supports working with ReFS volumes in read-only mode.

This feature doesn't make sense to Mac since Mac has neither a server environment as Microsoft desktop and server operating systems do nor identical hardware to Windows.

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Can you convert ReFS to an Apple file system?

Hi guys! We are currently setting up a new filer with about ~20TB of data. For this we would like to use ReFS. Now to the problem: A part of the filesystem is used by our creative team which are all using Macs. We wanted to copy that files to our new ReFS share but we get the error "The requested operation could not be completed due to a file system limitation". Can anyone tell what's going on or give a fix like to convert APFS to ReFS or convert ReFS to APFS so that we can implement our work ahead?

Being true of the results of the attempts to read a ReFS drive on the Mac discussed above, there is no direct command or method to convert an Apple file system such as APFS, HFS+, and HFS partition to ReFS and vice versa. ReFS so far is only accessible to Microsoft desktop and server operating systems, including Windows 8/8.1, Windows 10, Server 2016 (Technical Preview), and Windows Server 2022. 

No one can tell if Microsoft will offer support for Apple products just as the NTFS does, this feature is probably under active development plus a lot of ReFS for Mac coming to the public. However, you can test the advantages of the ReFS as you convert NTFS to ReFS as long as you get a Windows computer at hand!

Last word

Although receiving so much attention, ReFS up till now has been unable to offer read-and-write support to other platforms except the designated Windows 8/8.1, Windows 10, Server 2016 (Technical Preview), and Windows Server 2022. Additionally, there are no proven methods that meet success in bridging the incompatibility gap between operating systems and hardware.

The only chance to experience ReFS you can seize is to apply a Windows machine with a certain operating system installed or rely on Paragon Universal File System Driver to build a valid environment for ReFS running on a Linux machine.