How to enable Windows Projected File System on Windows 10

By: Madeleine Dean
2 minute read

Microsoft recently rolled out a new Windows 10 build to Fast Ring Insiders. So, if you already got bored with the previous build, you can now install build 17604.

This new release adds a very interesting feature to the table, namely the Windows Projected File System.

Insiders can already enable this feature by going to Windows Features > Turn Windows features on and off. All you need to do is check the  Windows Projected File System box and that’s it.

Windows Projected File System

Tero Alhonen also noticed this change and shared the screenshot above with the whole world on Twitter.

As a quick reminder, Windows File Protection (WFP) prevents programs from replacing critical Windows system files. In other words, apps and programs cannot overwrite these files because the OS and other programs use them regularly.

Microsoft introduced the Windows File Protection feature in order to protect these critical Windows system files and prevent problems with the operating system.

As a matter of fact, the Windows File Protection feature is not a new Windows feature. Microsoft used it as a sub-system in the Windows 2000 and Windows XP era and brought it back from the dead in 2018.

However, we’re not 100% sure that this new mechanism relies on the architecture from the XP era. For example, Walking Cat suggests that Microsoft renamed the GVFS (Git Virtual File System) to ProjF (Windows Projected Filesystem).

Anyway, we’ll dig more into this and update the article as soon as new information is available.

Here how Windows File Protection works

Windows Projected File System windows 10

Microsoft also detailed how this file protection system works:

If a program uses a different method to replace protected files, WFP restores the original files. The Windows Installer adheres to WFP when installing critical system files and calls WFP with a request to install or replace the protected file instead of trying to install or replace a protected file itself.

The WFP feature works mainly in the background. The protection mechanism is triggered after WFP receives a directory change notification for a file in a protected directory.

The system then replaces the newly changed file with the file from the cache folder or from the installation source, reverting recent changes.

So, if you installed the latest Windows 10 build on your computer and tested the Windows Projected File System feature, tell us more about your experience in the comments below.

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