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Microsoft Launched a Windows File Recovery Tool

Microsoft Windows Recovery is a command-line application released by Microsoft for free, and it’s available to download from the Microsoft Store. However, command-line apps arent much beginner-friendly. So far, it has a low rating of 2.5 stars due to a lack of knowing how it works and the system requirements. Let’s dive into the app and see how to use it.

windows recovery tool
windows recovery tool
(Image: Microsoft)

We all have experienced the scenario in which we have accidentally delete an important file and search google for a recovery software/ tool. Well, after such a long time, Microsoft has decided to provide a first-party solution to this issue. They’ve released a new utility app named Windows File Recovery available for free in the Windows app store. Microsoft’s description is as follows.

"Accidentally deleted an important file? Wiped clean your hard drive? Unsure of what to do with corrupted data? Windows File Recovery can help recover your personal data. For photos, documents, videos and more, Windows File Recovery supports many file types to ensure that your data is not permanently lost. Recovering from a camera or SD card? Try Signature mode, which expands beyond NTFS recovery and caters to your storage device needs. Let this app be your first choice for finding what you need from your hard drive, SSD (*limited by TRIM), USB drive, or memory cards. Visit aka.ms/winfrhelp for the user guide and reach out to WinFR@microsoft.com for further support or feedback."

System Requirement : 

  • OS: Windows 10, version 2004 (Build 19041), or later.
  • Architecture: ARM64, ARMx64, x86.

* In case if you don’t know the basics of how recovery apps are working, keep in mind that not to save or create anything until you recover the missing file. If the lost file location on disk overrides by another app or data, you won’t be able to recover it. Also, it’s better to have a secondary drive for data recovery. The data source and destination drives need to be different to avoid any conflicts.


This utility can recover most file types. According to Microsoft listings, it supports :

File Formats: JPEG, PDF, PNG, MPEG, Word, Excel, PowerPoint documents, MP3, MP4, and ZIP files, and more.
Storages: HDD, SSD, USB, SD cards, etc.
File Systems:  NTFS, FAT, exFAT, ReFS, etc.


Basically, there are three modes available. 

Default mode:  Use default mode to restore a recently deleted file on an NTFS file system. This mode uses Master File Table (MFT) to locate lost data. Works well when file segments (FRS; File Record Segments*) are presented.

Segment mode: Use to restore an old file from an NTFS file system. It also can be used to recover a corrupted drive or after formatting the disk. This mode uses FRS.

Signature mode:  If both above methods failed, you could use signature mode. Also uses to recover FAT, exFAT, or ReFS file system data and file on an external storage device.

*Segments are the thing that keeps a summary of file information that NTFS stores in the MFT. It keeps the record of data such as file name, date, size, type, and physical address of the file location on the disk.


It has more advanced options available for different purposes. Visit the Microsoft support website for more details.


How to use Windows File Recovery Tool

First, open the Windows File Recovery Tool from the Start menu or open PowerShell or CMD ( Windows command prompt ) as an administrator. 
If you are using the terminal, type “winfr” or “winfr.exe” for available commands.

The syntax is pretty straightforward to use.

winfr sourcedrive: destinationdrive: [/switches]

For example, let’s imagine we need to recover a doc named summary_report from C: drive to D:, the syntax will be as follows.

winfr C: D: /n \Users\techuth\Desktop\Reports\summary_report.docx

winfr= the command name to launch the recovery tool app.
C: = Source Drive. (The drive where your file was located)
D: = Destination Drive ( The drive where you want to save the recovered file )
/n = Default Mode
\Users\techuth\Desktop\Reports\summary_report.docx = the path where the deleted file was. Since we have already given the source drive letter, we only have to provide the rest of the address.
* As mentioned above in the article, it is always recommended to use a different drive for recovery.

If you want to recover a folder

winfr C: D: /n \Users\techuth\Desktop\Reports

However, when you recover from a USB or SD card, remember to change the switches/modes.

winfr E: D: /x docs/summary_report.docx

E: = USB drive ( Source File)
D: = Destination Drive
/x : = Signature Mode
docs/summary_report.docx = docx file inside the docs folder

If you want to recover all JPG’s from USB drive,

winfr E: D: /x/y:JPEG

If you have multiple file formats, you can use a comma to separate each format.

winfr E: D: /x/y:JPEG,PNG,TIFF


I hope you learned how to use this tool now. However, Hopefully, they will release a GUI version soon, which makes this task easier. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment.

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