Guide: How to Recover Permanently Deleted Files Using Command Prompt

Windows File Recovery of Microsoft can show you how to recover permanently deleted files using command prompt. However, if you want to recover files simply, you can also use the GUI software I recommend in the post.


By Bryce / Updated on April 2, 2024

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What will permanently delete files?

We use computers to produce data consistently, but the computer storage space is limited, we need to erase some data to free up the space. If you delete the data by pressing the Ctrl + D, you can recover them from Recycle Bin easily. However, if you permanently deleted files, you may need to use file recovery software. Listed below are some circumstances in which files are permanently deleted.

✦ Using Shift + D delete files.

✦ Users empty Recycle Bin after deleting files.

✦ Users delete files on the external hard drive (SD card/USB flash drive...).

✦ A virus attack leads to file deletion.

✦ Users delete large files. (The large files will bypass the Recycle Bin)

What is CMD, and can I recover permanently deleted files using it?

CMD is short for command. In a nutshell, it is a command interpreter program based on a Windows system, and its purpose is to let you enter commands utilizing a special syntax. After the user enters a command in the form of a line of text, presses the Enter key on the keyboard, and the operating system will run the text.

The command line has many uses, and one of the most commonly used functions by users is to restore data. You can use command line to recover permanently deleted files, formatted hard drive files, and so forth. The following part shows you the details of how to recover permanently deleted files using command prompt.

Restore permanently deleted files using Windows File Recovery

The best CMD tool to use is Windows File Recovery of Microsoft. This tool supports Windows 10 2004 and above, but does not support network and cloud storage files. It is able to recover permanently deleted files in Windows 10, and can also restore data on your hard drive, external storage, USB flash drives, etc.

Windows File Recovery is totally free, but it’s hard to operate because it doesn’t offer an intuitive interface to users. If you want to try it, the steps below show you how to recover permanently deleted files using the command prompt in Windows 10.

Firstly, you have to know the structure of the command line: winfr source-drive: destination-drive: [/mode] [/switches].

This table listed the parameters that you will use in your command line.


Select the mode depending on the file system.


Tip: the process of how to check your file system: Click This PC > Right-click the source drive > Tap the Properties.


Choose a switch depending on the mode.

Parameter / switch  


Supported mode(s)


Scans for a specific file by using a file name, file path, file type, or wildcards. For example: 

  • File name: /n myfile.docx
  • File path: /n /users//Documents/
  • Wildcard: /n myfile.*
  • /n *.docx
  • /n **



Recover specific extension groups, comma-separated



Saves a log file of the recovery operation in a different location than the default location on the recovery drive (for example, D:\logfile).



Segment mode, recovery option for NTFS drives using file record segments



Signature mode, recovery option for all file system types using file headers


After selecting all parameters, you can begin to write the command line.

Step 1. Open the Start menu, find and tap Microsoft Store.

Step 2. Type Windows File Recovery on the search bar and click the Get button.

Get Windows File Recovery

Step 3. Open Windows File Recovery and click Run as administrator.

Run As Administrator

Step 4. Type your command line in it, and press Enter.


An alternative tool to Windows File Recovery-WinfrGUI

WinfrGUI fully invokes the functionality of Window File Recovery, so its recovery effect is the same as the latter. But the difference is that WinfrGUI provides a graphical interface to users, which makes the operation become simpler. The recovery process is shown below.

Step 1. Select the range to scan, and then choose a place to restore files.


Step 2. Choose the scan mode, and determine the file type in Advanced settings.


Step 3. Click the Start Recovery to complete the process.


Recover permanently deleted files with a professional GUI software

I would like to introduce you to an upgraded GUI software, MyRecover. Same as WinfrGUI, it also gives an intuitive interface, which makes it easy for a computer novice to operate. Its compatibility is also better than the above two, it’s available for Windows 7 or late. Besides, this software can restore data from various storage devices, like SSD, HDD, USB flash drives, memory cards, etc.

One of its greatest advantages is that it keeps the files’ names, formats, and paths of the deleted files. I think you are willing to have a try, you can follow the steps to complete the recovery in Windows 11/10/8/7.

★Significant Highlights:
Apply to different scenarios: permanent deletion, disk formatting, system crash, and so forth. 
High-speed: It can recover a number of files in a short time.
Various files recovery: It can restore kinds of files, like PPT, Word, Excel, Photos, Videos, Audios, Zip files and etc.
Combining 2 scanning modes: Quick scan & Deep scan can automatically scan out all permanently deleted files.

Step 1. Tap the button below to download and install this freeware.

Download SoftwareWin 11/10/8/7/Server
Secure Download

Step 2. Open MyRecover on your PC. Hover the mouse over the drive saved deleted files before, and click Scan to scan.


Step 3. All the deleted files and other lost files will be detected.


Step 4. Choose a path to store the files, and then click Recover x files to start the recovery task.


You can visually compare the advantages and disadvantages of the three software through the following table.


Windows File Recovery



Supported system

Windows 10 2004 and above

Windows 10 2004 and above

Windows 7 SP1 and above

Free or not

Completely free

Completely free

3GB for free

Operation method




To sum up

There is a reliable CMD software, Windows File Recovery, and the article also introduces in detail how to recover permanently deleted files using a command prompt. However, to be honest, the CMD tool is not the best choice for recovering data because it is difficult and time-consuming, so I strongly recommend you to use the two GUI software mentioned in this post.

Bryce · Editor
Bryce is an editor of AOMEI Technology, he covers backup & restore, hard disk & partitions management, cloud files transfer, website & database backup and so on for AOMEI. He enjoys helping people find solutions to their problems. He loves traveling, Sleeping, reserching and so on. He enjoys helping people find solutions to their problems. He loves traveling, Sleeping, reserching and so on. He would like to spend all time on reaserching computer problems. He is a very cute boy.