Windows File Recovery - Free Data Recovery Software from Microsoft

Windows File Recovery - Free Data Recovery Software from Microsoft

Microsoft has launched its own Windows file recovery program to recover deleted files, including photos, documents, and files from your hard drive, flash drive, or memory card. The utility is available from the Microsoft Store and requires the latest system version.

In this review on using Windows File Recovery to recover deleted files and data after formatting in Windows 10, how to use the utility, and more information. It can also be useful: The best free data recovery software.

Using Windows File Recovery to recover deleted files

After installing the free Windows File Recovery program (use the Windows Store application search, installation is only possible on the latest version of Windows 10) and launching it, you will see a console window with basic information on exactly how to use the utility. At the moment only the text interface is available and only the English language, maybe this will change in the future.

In general, to recover data from a disk drive, you must enter the following command:


For example, winfr E: D: Recovered - this example will search for all lost files on drive E and restore them to folder D: Recovered (cannot restore files to the same drive from which you are recovering). The specified folder must be created beforehand.

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However, there are additional options to control the recovery using passed parameters:

  1. Parameter /x It includes a signature-based search and allows you to recover files not only from NTFS, but also from FAT32 / ExFAT / ReFS partitions. This can be useful when you need to recover photos or other files on a flash drive or memory card. Example:
    winfr E: D: Recovered / x
  2. Parameter /y allows us to specify the types of files to search, for example, to restore only JPG and PNG from a FAT32 flash drive we can use the command
    winfr E: D: Recovered / x / y: JPEG, PNG

    (list of formats supported by this parameter: ASF, JPEG, MP3, MPEG, PDF, PNG, ZIP). The parameter only works in combination with the key /x.

  3. Parameter /n allows you to recover files based on the file name pattern. For example, to retrieve all files whose name begins with "re" and the extension is .docx or .doc only from an NTFS drive, we can write the command like this
    winfr E: D: Recovered / n re * .doc *

    "Asterisk" can substitute for any character or set of characters.

  4. You can also use this option to recover files only from a specific folder, to do this, please use it as follows / n path_to_folder_of_the_folder (You do not need to specify the drive letter additionally, the drive you specified at the beginning of the command is used).

Windows File Recovery also supports additional parameters, for example - / k to recover system files, but the current documentation does not indicate exactly how this parameter works. Detailed instructions from Microsoft on the data recovery utility (in English) are available here:

File recovery test

For testing, I used a flash drive that had a set of JPG photos and some other files like PSDs written to it in the FAT32 file system, after which the USB drive was formatted to NTFS and then (while experimenting with the program free R-Undelete) back to FAT32. As Windows file recovery command I used

winfr E: D: /./ / x

Namely, signature-based file recovery.

The result was just as good as with many other free programs and Payment I've tried before: all JPG files were retrieved and read correctly, PSD file not found (but they may add signatures for it in the future too - I should point out right away that only few XNUMXrd party programs detected it either) .

I must say that during testing I have come across file recovery tools that couldn't find anything after formatting to different file system, Windows File Recovery is fine with that.

Windows File Recovery data recovery video

Bottom line: If the command line interface doesn't confuse you, Windows File Recovery is probably the first thing to try when you need to recover data after formatting or just deleted files. The program is from Microsoft and is installed through the store (which means that it is guaranteed to be safe and does not leave any residue on your computer). And if it fails, you can switch to other similar tools.

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