Windows File Recovery Not Working? Fixed!

How to do if Windows File Recovery not working? Get possible ways to fix Windows File Recovery errors and get an easier Windows File Recovery GUI to use.


By Lora / Updated on April 2, 2024

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About Windows File Recovery 

Have you ever deleted an important file by accident? Have you formatted your hard drive? Are you unsure what to do with data that has been corrupted? Windows File Recovery can assist you in recovering your personal data.

WINFR, or Windows File Recovery, is a free Microsoft utility that allows users to recover data lost while formatting a hard disk or partition, or files from a corrupted drive. This tool is a command-line app that can be used to recover deleted files in Windows 10 2004 and above. Besides, Windows File Recovery works with NTFS, ReFS, FAT, and exFAT file systems.  


However, as a command-line app, not everyone could use Windows File Recovery correctly. There are kinds of problems when using command prompts. How to do Windows File Recovery does not work on this device? Four solutions to help you fix Windows File Recovery not working.

Fix “Windows File Recovery does not work on this device”

Windows File Recovery is a useful tool to search a file system for deleted files. There are several scan modes available. Unfortunately, Windows File Recovery may not always work properly on your device.

When you launch the app or issue a command, you may also receive the message “WinFR requires admin privileges to run” or "winfr.exe is not recognized as an internal or external command." To fix Windows File Recovery not working, use the methods listed below.

Method 1. Reinstall Windows File Recovery

If you haven’t installed Windows File Recovery properly, it doesn’t work on your computer. You could uninstall it and then reinstall it from Microsoft Store with the administrator account.

Step 1. Press the Windows +X keys and select “Apps & features”.

Step 2. Enter “Windows File Recovery” in the search box and select it.

Step 3. Click “Uninstall”. Wait for the uninstallation to complete.


Step 4. Restart your computer and launch Microsoft Store to reinstall Windows File Recovery.

If you want to check whether the account is administrator, navigate to “Settings” > “Accounts” > “Your info”. If the account logged in is not the administrator, please change it and then reinstall Windows File Recovery.


Method 2. Update your Windows operating system

It should be noted that Windows File Recovery currently is available for Windows 10 2004 and later. You could check the latest Windows version and update your Windows operating system for your computer.

Step 1. Click settings and select “Update & Security”. Choose “Windows Update” and click “Check for updates”.


Step 2. You need to update your Windows operating system to Windows 10 2004 and above.

Step 3. Restart Windows File Recovery to check whether WinFR works properly.

Method 3. Run SFC and DISM command prompt

After a file is deleted from your computer, the space once occupied on your hard disk becomes available. However, the deleted file still remains on the drive until other data decides to use that space. As a result, Windows File Recovery is capable of recovering and restoring deleted files.

However, if your system files are corrupted, Windows File Recovery may not work normally. Scan and repair your system files and disk, then restart Windows File Recovery.

Step 1. Press the Windows + Q keys and input “CMD” in the search box. Select “Run as administrator”.

Step 2. Input the following command lines, and press Enter after each one:

sfc / scannow

DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth


Step 3. Wait for the commands to execute and restart your computer and Windows File Recovery.

Method 4. Use free Windows File Recovery GUI

Sometimes, due to the wrong usage of command lines, Windows File Recovery could not work properly. The commands are difficult for ordinary users to input. To get rid of complex command prompts, Windows File Recovery GUI (WinfrGUI) is a good assistant to help users recover lost or deleted files with clickable icons.

WinfrGUI is a tiny & free utility. It has fully invoked the function of Windows File Recovery with a graphical user interface. With simple operations, users could use Windows File Recovery easily.

Step 1. Download and install WinfrGUI on your computer.

Download Freeware Win 10 2004 and above
Secure Download

Step 2. Select a partition to scan and set a path to save the recovered files.


Step 3. Choose a scanning method according to your file system of the hard drive. Quick Scan only supports the NTFS file system. In addition, you could target file types and folders to scan when clicking “Advanced Settings”.


Step 4. Click “Start Recovery”. Wait for the recovery process to finish and view the recovered data in the destination folder.


Method 5. Professional data recovery software-MyRecover

If your Windows operating system is Windows 7 or 8, Windows File Recovery won't work on your computer. Or due to the low recovery success rate, you couldn't recover the deleted files you want by Windows File Recovery. No worries! You just need a professional and reliable data recovery tool to help you restore the deleted or lost files on your Windows PC. Strongly recommended MyRecover.

Designed with advanced algorithms, MyRecover wins a lot of reputation among Windows users. It can help you scan the locations where stores deleted files in quick scan and deep scan. The things you need to do is to make a few clicks and wait for the scanning process.


▶ Recover deleted files from SD cards, USB flash drives, HDDs, SSDs, external hard drives, and other storage media.
▶ Support for permanently deleted files recovery, formatted file recovery, and other data recovery methods.
▶ Recover lost Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, photos, videos, audios, emails, and hundreds of other file types.
▶ Compatible with Windows 7/8/10/11 and Windows Server.

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Step 1. Launch MyRecover on your computer. Hover the mouse over the drive saved deleted files before, and click Scan.


Step 2. The program runs the scanning process quickly and finds deleted files and other missing files in this partition. During scanning, you could recover any file you want. 


Step 3. Select the file or the folder that you want to recover and click "Recover files".


To sum up

There are four solutions to fix Windows File Recovery not working. You could try them according to your needs. It’s strongly suggested to use WinfrGUI, because it’s free and easy to operate for everyone, equivalent to using Windows File Recovery with a user-friendly interface.

Sometimes, you may find there is nothing in the destination folder, which means Windows File Recovery couldn’t help you recover the files. It may be deleted forever. Therefore, making regular backups in daily life is best to avoid data loss. You could try freeware-AOMEI Backupper to copy your important files to a safe place. You will never worry about data security. 

Lora · Editor
Lora is an editor of AOMEI Technology. She is also a tester and editor of AOMEI Data Recovery Tools. -- "Keep testing, write the most useful tutorials for helping people recover the lost data for Windows and phones" is the most meaningful thing for her. Dedicated to creating helpful tutorials, she hopes her tutorial can assist users to effortlessly solve data loss problems on their personal computers and mobile phones.