How to Use Windows 10 File Recovery Tool

Updated to File Recovery Tips by Potter on Jan 5, 2022

Microsoft Windows recovery tool is an application that enables its users to recover deleted files and documents from internal hard disk drives, USB keys, and SD cards. With the recent problems of data loss experienced by Windows 10 operating system users, Microsoft thought it is wise to create a data recovery application which could help save the files and documents of its users.

Windows File Recovery Tool can recover JPEG, PDF, PNG, MPEG, Office files, MP3, MP4, ZIP files, and other types of extensions. it supports different file systems like NTFS, FAT, exFAT, and ReFs. This will enable you to recover any type of information from where you want without fear of any incompatibility.

Window file recovery can only be used on Windows 10 2004 (that is May 2020 update) and higher or more recent versions of Windows 10.

Deleted files from storage devices are not immediately removed from them when deleted. After deletion, their original file structures remain which can be used to rebuild the information if not overwritten by other information. This makes it possible for data recovery. To increase the chances of recovering this data, it is important to perform these data recovery operations quickly to make sure your data structure is not overwritten by another piece of information before you can do anything.

Quick Navigation
Part 1. How to Download Windows File Recovery Tool from Windows Store
Part 2. How to Use Windows File Recovery Tool
Part 3. Best Alternative to Windows File Recovery Tool

Part 1. How to Download Windows File Recovery Tool from Windows Store

Windows File Recovery tool is present for download in the Windows app store. To get started with any data recovery operation, you need to first download it by opening the store and searching for "Windows File Recovery" and installing it.

When the installation is complete, go to the start menu and look for "Windows File Recovery". Click on the shortcut to launch the application and click on "Yes" when the prompt comes up. Windows File Recovery opens as a Command Prompt Window with Administrator access. To recover data with it, you will have to run file recovery commands.

Part 2. How to Use Windows File Recovery Tool

Windows File Recovery tool is different from most data recovery third-party software in that you have to run commands if you want to recover your data. This includes running winfr command, indicating the drive you want to search and recover the deleted file from, specifying the final destination you want it to be saved to after the recovery as well as the various switches which are in control of what Windows File Recovery tool is searching and how it searches for it.

The deleted file when recovered with the Windows File Recovery tool must be saved on a drive different from the initial drive in which it was present.

The basic format of the Windows File Recovery tool is

Winfr source-drive: destination-drive: /switches

Once the command is written and ran, a directory named "Recovery_[date and time]" will automatically be created in the drive chosen as the destination drive so that you know where to find your recovered data.

There are three modes involved in data recovery using Windows File Recovery Tool. They include the Default, Segment, and Signature modes.

To continue with this recovery tool, you will need to know your drive type. That is, the file system of the drive you will be recovering from. To see the file system, under "This PC" right-click on the drive, and click on "Properties". Under the General tab, you will see the file system.

These different modes have their specific importance and require different applications. Below, you will learn about where to use each mode:

NB: When wanting to perform a recovery process, it is good to try the Default mode then the segment and signature modes when in doubt.

1. How to Recover a File using the Default Mode

When you are using the default mode, you need to use /n then it should be followed by the path from which you are searching. For example:

--To search for a file named word.docx, you will type in

/n word.docx

In case you know the exact path of the file you can directly search for it in that path for example

/n \Users\Username\Documents\word.docx where username is the PC’s username.

--If you are searching for a group of files in a particular folder, you should write the command as follows

/n \Users\Username\Music

--To recover a particular file type in a group of files containing several file types, use * in your command.

/n \Users\Username\Documents\*.docx

This will find and recover all files with the .docx extension in the documents folder.

Using the basic format above to apply it for the default mode, your command will be as follows:

winfr D: E: /n *.docx

This command will recover all .docx extension files from disk D and transfer it to disk E.

Once this is done, type "y" to continue. (This will create a directory in disk E containing the files it found, where you can go and search for your files.)

In case you don’t remember the entire name of a file but remember a word in it or you want to recover a group of files that had a particular word in common in their names, you could search for the file by using the word. For example, using the word *game*

winfr D: E: /n *games*

It is equally possible to search for many files using different /n switches. For example, the command below can be used to look for all Word and PDF files.

winfr D: E: /n *.docx /n *.pdf

For a file, whose name you know exactly, for example, program.pdf, use the command line below

winfr D: E: /n \Users\Username\Documents\program.pdf

This is all about using the default mode.

2. How to Recover a File using the Segment Mode

Segment mode is quite similar to the default mode. The difference is, with the segment mode, /r is added to the command line of a default mode. Hence in case you are using the default mode and don’t find your file, you can advance the recovery by adding /r to the command line. A good command in the segment mode is as follows

winfr D: E: /r /n * .JPEG

This will help recover all pictures with the .JPEG extension.

3. How to Recover a File using the Signature Mode

Different from the other two, the signature mode is based on finding deleted files using their file types. In signature mode, your command includes /x letting Windows File Recovery know you are in signature mode and /y: where you list the file type you want to find.

To know the supported file types in the signature mode, insert the command below

winfr /#

This will display a table containing the different supported file types. An example of a command in the signature mode is as below

winfr D: E: /x /y:PDF

This will recover all PDF files in D and transfer them to the recover folder in E.

This is exactly how to use Windows File Recovery to recover deleted files.

Part 3. Best Alternative to Windows File Recovery Tool

Windows File Recovery Tool is a powerful tool for data recovery on Windows 10. It can enable you to recover multiple files at a time. It is organized as it recovers files and stores them in one location which is easy to find. With all its advantages, Windows File Recovery Tool also has disadvantages such as:

In case you want to avoid all these or the Windows File Recovery tool that is not compatible with your computer, the best data recovery software which is a good alternative to the Windows File Recovery tool is iBeesoft Data Recovery.

It is a safe and efficient data recovery tool that can help you find data with ease and simplicity. Easy to download and use, it will save you from any stress while you recover your files as it requires no serious training for its use. It is compatible with every file system found in different storage devices and equally has a wide range of compatibility with the different file types that exist. Below is a little comparison between both data recovery tools.

These differences make iBeesoft Data Recovery a good alternative to Windows Recovery Tool.

To use iBeesoft Data Recovery to recover your files, the procedure is as follows:

  1. Download and install iBeesoft Data Recovery in a disk different from the one you want to get back information from then launch the app.
  2. Next select the location from where you want to recover the files and click on "Scan" to find deleted files on Windows 10. A quick scan will be done by default.
  3. Once the scan is completed, a list of files that have been found will be listed. Preview this list and try to find the file you want to restore. If you do not find the file you are looking for, you should perform a deep scan. It is a more intense search and will take more time as compared to a quick scan but it is more efficient and has higher chances of finding the file. As soon as the deep scan is conducted, a list of files will be displayed and you will be able to find your file from the list.