ReFS Data Recovery

ReFS RAW Volume Recovery

ReFS filesystem was designed to be used together with all the new data storage technologies developed by Microsoft. The first version of ReFS was introduced with Windows Server 2012 where a new technology, Storage Spaces, was also first introduced. It was assumed that ReFS would be used in conjunction with Storage Spaces technology. Nowadays, ReFS is actively promoted along with other Microsoft technologies like S2D – Storage Spaces Direct.

Although ReFS was designed to be stable and not requiring repair (that's why there is no repair tool like chkdsk in NTFS), there still can be problems with underlying storage (often it is Storage Spaces).

A typical situation is when due to a failure at the Storage Spaces level, for example, one of the S2D cluster has failed, ReFS volumes on the failed node turn to RAW. And you get a ReFS drive showing RAW filesystem. In this case, the level translating logical clusters into physical sectors, which are located on the different drives, is not damaged and works normally but there is a problem with the ReFS drivers refusing to work with the volume.

The best solution in this case – restoring data from a backup, "cleaning" the disks and returning them back to the cluster. However, if, for some reason, there is no backup, you have to pursue a data recovery route.

For this, you need a data recovery tool, which is capable of recovering data from a RAW ReFS partition preferably doing a deep scan rather than just "opening" a ReFS filesystem. Since ReFS is a rather young filesystem, there are not that many ReFS recovery solutions. Another difficulty is that there are at least two different versions of ReFS – an early version introduced along with Storage Spaces in 2012 and the current, so called ReFS version 3, first appeared in Windows Server 2016.

ReFS recovery stories

The first thing coming in mind is how to fix or repair the failed ReFS volume rather than thoughts about a full-scale recovery, for which you need to have:

  • at least the same amount of free disk space as you have data on the ReFS volume,
  • a special ReFS recovery software
  • and resources for building a setup for recovery.

However, as practice shows, all requests for "repairing a ReFS volume" end with data recovery.

For example, in this discussion ReFS volumes lost their labels and the volume repair was not successful. No fix solution was offered, only data recovery.

In this discussion the problem was with inaccessible folders giving the error "Path to folder is not accessible. The volume repair was not successful". Similar to the previous case, no troubleshooting solutions, only a full-scale data recovery.

Here is a classical RAW filesystem issue, for which there is no built-in solution like chkdsk in NTFS. So the only thing to try is ReFS data recovery software.

So if you have a problem with your ReFS volume, for example it is not accessible anymore, shows zero capacity and listed as having RAW filesystem, try ReFS data recovery software. ReclaiMe File Recovery is data recovery software capable of recovering data from a ReFS raw drive.