For the purpose of retrieving deleted files from hard drives, SD cards, USB drives, and other storage media, Microsoft offers Windows File Recovery as an official solution. Here is a comprehensive, step-by-step tutorial on using this command-line tool.
The tool is solely a command-line application; it lacks a graphical user interface. Although we’ll walk you through how to use it, don’t expect it to be as intuitive as you might hope from a Microsoft Store app. You must have Windows 10’s May 2020 Update or a later version, or Windows 11 in any version, in order to use this program. Older versions of Windows cannot execute it.
Even if you are able to restore a file, it may only include partial data due to corruption. Only the data that is currently stored on the drive is accessible. There are no assurances in this situation, which is why backups are crucial.
The tool also offers a number of modes designed for various circumstances and file systems. We’ll go through which ones you ought to utilize and how to apply them.
How to Install Windows File Recovery?
Search for “Windows File Recovery” in the Microsoft Store’s search bar and click on install.
Then, open your Start menu and look for “File Recovery.” Launch it and click “Yes” to the UAC request.
You’ll see a Command Prompt window with Administrator access. This is where you’ll run the File Recovery commands.
You may also run other command-line based programs like Windows Terminal and PowerShell, however, you must launch them with Administrator privileges. (Right-click the one you wish to use in the Start menu and choose “Run as Administrator.”)
How to Recover Deleted Files on Windows 10 and Windows 11?
To begin recovering files on your Windows PC at this stage, you must run Windows File Recovery instructions. A Windows File Recovery command appears as follows:
winfr E: F: /extensive /n Projects\2022
This is a demo command that scans the location “D:\Projects\2022” in Regular mode and recovers the files in a folder created by default in drive F. When you run a winfr command, you’ll be asked if you want to continue. Type Y and press Enter to continue.
There are several methods that you can use in order to recover the lost data using the Windows File Recovery App.
Method 1: Scan specific folders
Additionally, you have the option to filter the scan area. For instance, if you are aware of the location of the deleted file, you can add a location filter to the command as follows:
winfr D: E: /extensive /n Projects\2022\ClientA.pdf
Method 2: Search for a specific file
The aforementioned command explicitly searches C:Projects2022 for a PDF file called ClientA.pdf. If you want to search for a particular file with a space in its name, you must wrap the file path in double quotes like follows:
winfr D: E: /extensive /n "Projects\2022\Client ABC.pdf"
Method 3: Search for a specific file type
You can limit your search to a specific file type if you can’t remember the file’s name. For instance, you can use the following command to only search for MS Word documents:
winfr D: E: /extensive /n "Projects\2022\*.docx"
You can add as many file types as you want if you want to recover data from more than one type of file. For instance, the following is how to search for Word and PDF files:
winfr D: E: /extensive /n "Projects\2022\* .docx" /n "Projects\2022\*.pdf"
Method 4: Search file with a specific text string
Let’s say you can only recall a portion of the file name, but you still want to save time by focusing your search. For instance, you are aware that the word “client” appears in the file name. You can accomplish so by using the following command, regardless of where the text string is located in the file name:
winfr D: E: /extensive /n "Projects\2022\*Client*"
A thorough scan will require more time than a standard scan. But in both modes, every file in your source location—hidden files included—will be scanned and attempted to be recovered.
Access recovered files
Go to the destination folder path after the scan is finished. The recovered files are in a folder with a name that begins with “Recovery,” which you may find.
Understanding these procedures, let alone carrying them out, might be challenging for the typical person like the majority of us. But at least now we are aware that there are alternatives to spending big money and navigating dozens of eerie websites if we want to restore the lost data.
You can click here to access more specific instructions and commands from Microsoft’s website.
Check out our other resources on tips and tricks for your daily IT needs here.