Windows File System (WINFS). A sort of hazy entity that first appeared from Microsoft marketing in the early 1990s and has never quite made it to release. WFS has recently been slipped out of the 2006 (or so) Longhorn release.

The basic idea of WFS seems to be that files will be accessed by content/keywords rather than by heiarchial name. e.g. "Get me last Thursday's notes on manufacturing controlled substances" instead of OPEN:C:\METHLAB\20040909\MethProductionQuota.DOC. The argument is that as the number of files on individual PCs has grown into the tens of thousands, it has become increasingly difficult to find a desired file in the traditional heiarchial organization. At various times WFS (which has had several names) has been proposed as an actual file system with unique file structures and/or an access API different from the existing DOS/Windows file accessing. The most recent incarnation appears to be a superstructure over an existing file system -- probably NTFS.

Other approaches to the file organization problem have been proposed and even implemented from time to time but have not acheived broad usage. Examples: Lotus Magellan; various desktop search products; Yale Universitiy's Lifestreams project.

Return To Index Copyright 1994-2002 by Donald Kenney.