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Definition: WinFS

(WINdows Future Storage) The code name for a unified storage subsystem that was expected in Windows Vista but never completed. Using a relational database and XML meta-data, WinFS was designed to go beyond the hierarchical view that Explorer presents to the user. It would have let users index and combine heterogeneous data formats such as files, folders, email and contacts. Data would be searched like a search engine, which yields results in different formats (HTML pages, documents, etc.).

FS Is Not a File System
Because "FS" is in the name, WinFS was often mistaken for a new file system. WinFS was designed to sit on top of the NTFS file system, and software developers would write to the WinFS programming interface (API). See NTFS.