Client for NFS in Windows 8

Client for NFS in Windows 8

Now that it’s been RTM’ed – it’s time you should know what’s new with NFS components in Windows 8 and I would like to start with Client for NFS.

While there are significant changes with respect to Server for NFS component in Windows 8, Client for NFS seems to have escaped unchanged UI-wise. Not entirely really – it now support krb5p flavor of Kerberos authentication in addition to krb5/krb5i support that was introduced in Windows 7.

The krb5p flavor adds privacy protection to the NFS packets on the wire and only downside that I see is that it adds the heaviest performance overhead compared to krb5 and krb5i flavors. Nevertheless, if security is paramount and you have the infrastructure to support it – you can use it as soon as you start deploying Windows 8.

Here’s what those flavors really do to protect NFS communication between Windows NFS clients and NFS server –

  • Krb5 – uses the Kerberos Krb5 to authenticate users before granting access to the shared file system
  • Krb5i – uses Kerberos version 5 protocol to authenticate with integrity checking (checksums), which verifies that the data has not been tampered with
  • Krb5p – uses Kerberos version 5 protocol, which authenticates NFS traffic with encryption for privacy

I’ll add the necessary non-client side configuration required to use these option later (hopefully). 

The next major change that you will see with Client for NFS in Windows 8 is support for larger block sizes – in fact, it has been bumped up all the way to 1024KB from 32KB in Windows 7 and earlier. This will hopefully add to the NFS client performance and you should see better throughput when using Windows 8 as NFS client.

The default read/write buffer size has been set to 1024KB and the only way to change it is via the nfsadmin command. However, this shouldn’t be required at all since the NFS server does communicate the buffer size it supports to the client when the mount is happening and the client uses that same buffer size to communicate with the server going forward.

Comments (29)

  1. Lionel says:

    How does the updated Client for NFS behave regarding compatibility with Cygwin?  (Cygwin uses some unsupported implementation details to achieve better Unix emulation.)

  2. ashisa says:

    Can you please provide some specifics about what doesn't work well with regards to Cygwin?

  3. Lionel says:

    I don't *know* whether something stopped working (and I can't test right now), I'm just asking whether you know of such problems (looks like not, but is this a scenario you have tests for?) or if it's likely that there are (e.g. if you did huge changes in the internals of the client).


  4. ashisa says:

    Well – you are right to say I don't know if some things have stopped working now. From what I know – things that worked in Windows 7 will still work because that's what we surely test for.

    I guess we will have to wait till Windows 8 GA to know what is it.

  5. Lee says:

    Where do you install Client for NFS in Windows 8? The option is no longer present in 'Turn Windows features on or off'.

  6. ashisa says:

    @Lee – Only the Enterprise/Ultimate SKUs have that option. Do you have one of those?

  7. Lee says:

    Thanks for getting back to me ashisa. I didn't realise that NFS was restricted to Enterprise / Ultimate. I had installed the Pro version because that's what I get through my MSDN subscription, and I don't have access to Enterprise / Ultimate.

    Given that Client for NFS was available in the lower versions of Windows 7, it's an unfortunate regression of functionality from my point of view.

    From my point of view, this is just another reason to avoid Windows 8.

  8. Lee says:

    How would a consumer get access to NFS in Windows 8? As far as I can see, you can't buy licenses to Enterprise through retail and you need to sign up to a Software Assurance agreement. Also, the Windows 8 Ultimate SKU doesn't exist. Therefore it's a choice between Windows 8 and WIndows 8 Pro.

    Are you sure this is the correct information?

  9. here says:

    Any way to install this in Windows 8 Retail (Professional) version? its on Enterprise and VL, but these versions are not available to retail customers… agghhh!!!

  10. ashisa says:

    @Lee – Unfortunately, it's how it works now.

    @here – I doubt there is a way out.

    @everyone else – please sound your dissatisfaction about this issue here – it may create an impact if there are enough people unhappy about it.

  11. FynrDzynr says:

    It stinks that M$ considers that only Enterprise customers now need NFS client!

  12. Talith says:

    Just found this; this is a dealbreaker for me, and will keep me on Win 7 (or make me switch to using my Mac a lot more). This should be in Pro; losing NFS access to my shared drives is not acceptable.

  13. DItto on dealbreaker. Win7 Ultimate includes NFS, and Win8 Pro claims to be its successor. Why would MS alienate its more technical customers like this?

  14. Steve says:

    Wow, I can't even upgrade to Windows 8. I absolutely need the NFS client and can't even purchase it as a regular consumer.

    I purchase Windows 7 Ultimate for this very reason and now am forced to stay on 7. Thanks Microsoft.

  15. ericb says:

    I too would like to be able to use the NFS client in Win 8 Pro – silly that it's not available.

  16. Gordon says:

    Agree…seriously, NFS is even standard on macs!

  17. Alex says:

    Love you MS. I love yours win8 only for nfs support.

    No nfs – no money.


  18. says:

    The absence of NFS client is a serious problem if enterprise deployment within environments having mixed networks (Windows & Linux in our case).  This creates difficulties when trying to use Windows desktops and apps to interface to HPC computation and industry commonplace cloud systems.

    Also, I'm unsure whether the above implies support for NFS v4 protocol(s).  Does it?

  19. ashisa says:

    @jhoward – it wouldn't be a problem for the enterprises who are most likely deploying Windows 8 Enterprise SKU since NFS client ships with it. However, NFS v4.1 support is limited to just NFS server component. The client component is still limited to NFS v2/3.

  20. gee says:

    Just found out yesterday, that NFS doesn't come with Win8 Pro. Gotta weight my options, but I might have to stay with Win7 Ultimate for a while.

  21. Georg says:

    This is a very unfortunate situation and I would agree with Lee that  it is a serious regression in functionality and a deal breaker for me as well.

    NFS is a wonderful solution, easy to set up, everyone speaks it. Except Windows once again tries to force samba down our throats, Which is more troublesome then NFS for a quick and fast share in a home network.

  22. Seriously, where is NFS in Windows 8 Professional? Is there a client seperately available?

  23. I dont't wanna says:

    miss nfs with my qnap, so I'll get back to windows 7, sorry mates

  24. here says:

    Hi, any solution or workaround on his yet?????


  25. Andy says:

    I've just found out the hard way that Win 8 pro doesn't support the NFS client. Just got my new workstation with Windows 8 and I can't connect to the NFS shares for my Lab environment on my NAS.

    Poor form Microsoft. Poor form.

    Windows 8 will now only get used to play games. All my real work will be done on the Linux Mint partition.

  26. Steve says:

    I keep checking back here hoping that MS decided to give us ANY option for NFS support. Charge us extra, add an "Ultimate" SKU or do something else, but please give retail users the option to have NFS support.

  27. Bob says:

    I'm really disappointed by this move, I'd happily pay for this feature but I can't now get a legal copy of Windows 8 with NFS support.

  28. I put a lot of work into Cygwin so that it supports NFS on a more fundamental level, more like SFU rather than Windows.  Given that, it's very frustrating that most users are now cut of from this functionality, just because they are not corporate customers.  It's just not understandable why there's no way for private users of Windows 8 to access their NFS shares like they could do with all Windows versions since at least XP.

    Is there *any* chance at all to allow W8 Pro customers to install NFS, maybe from some MSDN web page?

  29. Steve says:

    So I upgraded to Windows 8 and found an NFS client that worked. Go check out NekoDrive. You will also have to install the Dokan library for it to work.…/nekodrive