Nothing is harmful as losing all important and valuable data including files, videos, songs, documents, and many other things from a hard drive that may take place because of a human error or hardware malfunction. However, there might still be a chance to retrieve any of those files, as many file deletions require removing the file index before the storage block is overwritten. So, in this guide, you will learn how to install and use Windows File Recovery on Windows 10.
Meanwhile, there are lots of third-party software like Recuva, Disk Drill, Stellar and others that can recover your deleted data freely. Since Microsoft released its own file recovery tool called “Windows File Recovery” then there is no need to use third-party apps for recovering deleted data.
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What is Windows File Recovery?
Windows File Recovery is Microsoft’s own tool for retrieving mistakenly deleted files. Though, it’s not an app in the common sense of the term since it’s a command-line tool. This covers a broad variety of file types including images, documents, and videos. This can be used to access files from the storage of a variety of external users, by means of cameras and SD cards.
Microsoft’s file recovery service has a default mode particularly designed for NTFS file systems. This can restore data from a damaged disk, or after a disk has been formatted. A second signature mode is probably the most common alternative, enabling users to recover different types of files through FAT, exFAT, and ReFS file systems. This signature mode can take longer to recover files, too.
Microsoft’s Windows File Recovery tool doesn’t have a graphical interface — it’s just a command-line utility. This tool requires you to have Windows 10’s May 2020 update or a newer version of Windows 10 installed. It’s not running on older versions of Windows.
The Microsoft Windows File Recovery Tool supports three modes of operation: Default, Segment, and Signature.
Each of these modes attempts to retrieve deleted files from a storage device in a different way, as mentioned below:
- Default mode: This mode uses the Master File Table (MFT) feature to find missing files. Default mode works fine when MFT and file segments, also called File Record Segments (FRS), are present.
- Segment mode: This mode does not require an MFT but includes segments. Segments are summaries of file information stored by NTFS in the MFT, such as name, date, size, sort and cluster / allocation unit index.
- Signature mode: this mode only allows data to be present and searches for different file types. It’s not working with tiny files. You can only use the Signature mode to access a file from an external storage device, such as a USB drive.
How to Install Windows File Recovery on Windows 10?
To use the Windows File Recovery tool for recovering files, you’ll need to install it from Microsoft Store. Here’s how to install it:
Step 1. Open Microsoft Store. You can find Microsoft Store from the Start menu by searching Store or Microsoft Store.
Step 2. Click Open.
Step 3. Now, search for Windows File Recovery and Click Install. The app size is around 2.82 MB.
How to Use Windows File Recovery to Recover the Deleted Data?
When the app is installed, open the “Windows File Recovery” shortcut once and click “Yes” if you’re prompted. You will be greeted with a screen similar to the one below when you open the program.
However, If you don’t see the list of options above, type “winfr” and then press enter.
USAGE: winfr source-drive: destination-folder [/switche
/r - Segment mode (NTFS only, recovery using file record segments)
/n [filter] - Filter search (default or segment mode, wildcards allowed, trailing \ for folder)
/x - Signature mode (recovery using file headers)
/y:[type(s)] - Recover specific extension groups (signature mode only, comma separated)
/# - Displays signature mode extension groups and file types
/? - Help text
/! - Display advanced features
Example usage - winfr C: D:\RecoveryDestination /n Users\[username]\Downloads\
winfr C: D:\RecoveryDestination /x /y:PDF,JPEG
winfr C: D:\RecoveryDestination /r /n *.pdf /n *.jpg
For instance, to recover the deleted .JPG images using the default mode from the G: drive and restore them to the D: drive, you would use the following command and press enter.
winfr G: D: /n *.JPG
To Continue, Press y.
When the recovery process is completed. Now, simply go to the drive where you select the files to be recovered and check whether the files are recovered or not. In my case, I have successfully recovered the deleted. JPG files as you can see in the screenshot below.
to use the default mode to recover all deleted .PDF files on the G: drive and restore them to the D: drive, you would use the following command:
winfr G: D: /n *.PDF
Type y to continue.
Recovered deleted .PDF files.
To search for all DOCX files on drive G: and copy them to drive D:, you’d run the following command:
winfr G: D: /n *.docx
Type y to continue.
This is how you can install and use the Windows File Recovery tool to recover the deleted data on your Windows PC. I have provided you some examples on how to recover the deleted. JPG, PDF, and .docx files using the Windows File Recovery tool. Meanwhile, this was a quick guide on how to use the Windows File Recovery tool. To know more about how to recover deleted files and data click here.