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How to recover deleted files using Microsoft's Windows File Recovery tool

Windows File Recovery tool is available on Windows apps store and it is a command line app that allow users to recover deleted files and documents

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Microsoft India | Microsoft Windows 10 | Windows 10

BS Web Team  |  New Delhi 

data recovery, recover old files, windows file recovery tool
Here is everything you need to know about the Windows File Recovery tool and how it works Photo: Shutterstock

Microsoft recently released Windows File Recovery tool, an app that helps its users on operating system retrieve deleted files and documents. The tool is available on Windows apps store and it is a command line app that allow users to recover deleted files and documents from local hard disc, pen drives and SD cards. Here is everything you need to know about the app and how it works:

Windows File Recovery tool: Supported system, formats and drives

  • Platform: build 19041 or later
  • File systems: NTFS, FAT, exFAT and ReFS
  • Drives: HDD, SSD, USB, and memory cards
  • Formats: JPEG, PDF, PNG, MPEG, Office files, MP3 & MP4, ZIP files, and more

Windows File Recovery tool: Scope

The Windows File Recovery tool allows you to target file names, keywords, file paths, or extensions in your recovery. However, being a command line app, it does not support files recovery from cloud storage and storage drives on network.

Windows File Recovery tool: How it works

  • Download and launch the app from the Microsoft Store.
  • Press the Windows key, enter Windows File Recovery in the search box, and then select Windows File Recovery.
  • When you are prompted to allow the app to make changes to your device, select Yes.

In the Command Prompt window, enter the command in the following format:

winfr source-drive: destination-drive: [/switches]

The source and destination drives must be different. When recovering from the operating system drive (often C: ), use the /n <filter> and /y:<type<(s)> switches to specify the user files or folder.

Microsoft automatically creates a recovery folder for you called, Recovery_<date and time> on the destination drive.

There are three modes you can use to recover files: Default, Segment, and Signature.

Default mode

Recover a specific file from your C: drive to the recovery folder on an E: drive.

winfr C: E: /n \Users\<username>\Documents\QuarterlyStatement.docx

Recover jpeg and png photos from your Pictures folder to the recovery folder on an E: drive.

winfr C: E: /n \Users\<username>\Pictures\*.JPEG /n \Users\<username>\Pictures\*.PNG

Recover your Documents folder from your C: drive to the recovery folder on an E: drive.

winfr C: E: /n \Users\<username>\Documents\

Don’t forget the backslash (\) at the end of the folder.

Segment mode (/r)

Recover PDF and Word files from your C: drive to the recovery folder on an E: drive.

winfr C: E: /r /n *.pdf /n *.docx

Recover any file with the string "invoice" in the filename by using wildcard characters.

winfr C: E: /r /n *invoice*

Signature mode examples (/x)

When using signature mode, it's helpful to first see the supported extension groups and corresponding file types.

winfr /#

Recover JPEG (jpg, jpeg, jpe, jif, jfif, jfi) and PNG photos from your C: drive to the recovery folder on an E: drive.

winfr C: E: /x /y:JPEG,PNG

Recover ZIP files (zip, docx, xlsx, ptpx, and so on) from your C: drive to the recovery folder on an E: drive.

winfr C: E:\RecoveryTest /x /y:ZIP

When you are prompted for confirmation to continue, enter Y to start the recovery operation.

Depending on the size of your source drive, this may take a while.

To stop the recovery process, press Ctrl+C.

First Published: Thu, July 02 2020. 10:13 IST
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