In its simplest form, NTFS works by formatting a disk into partitions, then keeping track of every file stored in the system. This process enables Windows to manage the storage and retrieval of files with ease.
To determine the type of file system your computer is using, go to “This PC”, right-click on any drive (preferably the Windows drive), and you will see “NTFS” or “ReFS” listed as the file system, similar to the below screenshot from a Windows 10 device. The latest preview builds of Windows 11 have support for ReFS, the Resilient File System, which is the latest file system from Microsoft, previously only used in Windows Servers.
ReFS offers significant improvements in data availability, scalability, and data integrity compared to NTFS. It supports larger data sets and has features such as file-level snapshots, mirror-accelerated parity, and better security. However, it doesn't have some features supported by NTFS, like system compression, encryption, disk quotas, and removable media support, making it less suitable for consumer PCs.
There is a possibility that Windows 11 Enterprise or Business computers may come with ReFS as the default file system, but it's not clear yet. Microsoft is still working on ReFS support for Windows 11, and it's not known when it will be available for consumers.