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Create ReFS Volume From Windows 10 Pro

Operating System
Windows 10
In current releases of Windows 10, MS removed the ability to format a volume with ReFS. That feature is moved to Windows 10 Pro for Workstations. The requisite files exist in Pro, but is locked and/or otherwise unavailable. A $125 upgrade charge to enable, or $205 for a retail license.

I fingered out a method that allows an existing Windows 10 Pro install to format a volume in ReFS without using a pre-Creators Update install or VM - and there is no charge. The process appears more lengthy and involved in writing than it is in practice. Basically, upgrade your license, format the volume, downgrade your license, and reactivate.

ACTIVATE WORKSTATION
From an activated Windows 10 Pro install, upgrade to Windows 10 Pro for Workstations with a Generic Volume License Key
NRG8B-VKK3Q-CXVCJ-9G2XF-6Q84J
Windows 10 Pro Workstation is now enabled but not Activated.

ENABLE ReFS
Create or modify two registry keys:

1. This key probably already exists
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\FileSystem
Create (or modify) a DWORD and name it
RefsDisableLastAccessUpdate
Set its value as 1 to enable it.

2. This key (MiniNT) probably does NOT exist, create or modify as needed
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\MiniNT
Create a new DWORD and name it
AllowRefsFormatOverNonmirrorVolume
Set its value as 1 to enable it.

See note in next step regarding the mandatory removal of this key.

FORMAT ReFS VOLUMES
The machine is now enabled to create ReFS partitions on non-boot volumes. The ReFS volumes are 100% addressable and functional in all versions of Windows 10.

Do your homework on ReFS. There is more than one version. AFAIK, version 1.2 is addressable in Windows 8.1, but version 3.2 is not addressable in Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 releases prior to Creators Update. Do your homework (or stay current).

There are dated reports that the presence of the MiniNT key will cause Windows to dysfunction as if it is booted to the Preinstallation Environment. Setting the DWORD value to 0 is not sufficient.
I did not experience this affect and cannot confirm it. Nonetheless, I recommend removal of the key. Delete it after you have formatted the drive with ReFS. If you ever need it, put it back and set the value to 1.


REVERT WINDOWS 10 LICENSE
Uninstall the Generic Volume License Key
From an elevated command prompt
slmgr /upk

Clear the key from the registry
From an elevated command prompt
slmgr /cpky

Install Windows 10 Pro Generic Volume License Key
This step is required to rollback from Workstation to Pro
From an elevated command prompt
slmgr /ipk <setup key>

(or, since you probably do not have one or have it recorded, use a Generic Volume License Key. Windows 10 Pro is shown here)

From an elevated command prompt
slmgr -ipk W269N-WFGWX-YVC9B-4J6C9-T83GX

See https://docs.microsoft.com/…/wind…/get-started/kmsclientkeys for a list of GVLKs.

Windows 10 is now reverted to the version that matches your key.
If you use a GVLK, Windows will NOT activate. If you use a valid key, Windows should activate without further action. It does not matter, Windows will correct itself in either circumstance.

(RE)ACTIVATE WINDOWS LICENSE
Go to PC Settings, Update & Security, Activation
Click Troubleshoot Activation
Windows will call home to the activation server and activate.
:
Please note:
Windows 10, any version, is 100% functional without activation. There is a nag and/or watermark. Personalization is not supported (but a MS account login will sync personalization from another device or legacy Windows 10 account).
Likes: Arctos
Author
Antman
First release
Last update
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