Microsoft has released a tool, only for Windows 10, easy to use and free, that allows you to recover deleted files. According to the official description, this tool is not only used to recover deleted files, but also to restore damaged hard drives, SD cards and archives. With an automatic scan you can use Windows File Recovery for recover photos, documents, videos and other files that have been deleted in the past few days and that cannot be found in a previous backup.
Windows File Recovery is downloaded as an application from the Windows 10 store, but it is a command-line tool, that is, without any user interface. However, this should not scare you because it is very easy to use and just follow the instructions that appear on the screen to use all its features.
After installing Windows File Recovery from the Microsoft store, just open a command prompt window (finding it on the Start menu and pressing it with the right button to run it as administrator).
The command that launches the file recovery tool it is winfr which should be used in the following way:
winfr percorso-da-scansionare: cartella-di-destinazione /opzione
The meaning of the command is quite simple: Windows File Recovery is told to look inside a folder and restore the deleted contents to save them in a lost folder of your choice. The advanced options help to narrow the search, they can be added, even more than one, interspersed with one /. The main options are:
- / r – Segment mode, recommended for searching files on disk formatted in NTFS mode, also useful for recovering data whose references are now lost.
- / n to specify the type of file you want to restore by adding its extension (for example: / n * .mp3
- / x – Signature mode (recommended for scanning on FAT, exFAT, USB sticks, SD cards); if you use Segment mode, you cannot use Signature mode and vice versa.
- / y – to search for files of a particular extension.
- /? – to see the guide
You can manually type the full path of the folders in CMD using copy and paste.
Wanting to give an example, we can use this command to search and recover deleted .PDF files from the documents folder.
winfr C: D: /n UsersnomeutenteDocuments*.PDF
The following command searches for mp3 files and tries to restore them
winfr C: "E:Cartella-recuperi" /n *.mp3
The search and recovery results will be found in a folder called Recovery on the indicated destination disk.
Recovery of deleted files depends on many factors: the time elapsed after deletion and then also the amount of files that have been added during this time will make a difference. In many cases, the recovered files will still not be usable because they are incomplete and impossible to restore. Also, if you are using an SSD drive with the TRIM option enabled (it is always enabled by default), then recovering deleted files will be very difficult. The tool also works to recover files after formatting the hard drive.
On this official page you can find the complete guide to all the options of Windows File Recovery
Certainly the fact that it is a tool that can only be used at the command line will not make it popular and we hope that in the future a graphical interface will be added to make Windows File Recovery easier to use for an average user.
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