By Penny / Last update May 6, 2022

What is the Windows File Recovery utility?

Windows File Recovery is a command-line utility from the Microsoft Store. Meanwhile, this free application is only compatible with Windows 10 version 2004 and later.

Windows File Recovery aims to recover deleted files from your local storage devices such as internal and external devices, and USB devices. Generally speaking, these deleted files are not in your recycle bin.

At the moment, Windows File Recovery can solve your problems like documents, images, and video recovery. But the recovery on cloud storage and network file shares is disabled.

There are two basic modes for Windows File Recovery.

Parameter/

switch

Description

Supported mode(s)

/regular

Regular mode, the standard recovery option for non-corrupted NTFS drives

Regular

/extensive

Extensive mode, a thorough recovery option suitable for all file systems

Extensive

Pay attention that the space used by a deleted file is defined as free space in the Windows file system, indicating that the file data can still exist and be recovered. If you’re eager to restore your deleted files, you’re supposed to avoid using your PC as soon as possible.

How to recover deleted files using free Windows File Recovery?

Let’s figure out how Windows File Recovery works in our dedicated guide below. Especially for the step of resembling command lines.   

Notes:✎...
 Ensure your destination drive is different from your source drive. Because the recovered files will be saved in the destination drive.
 You need to recover files using cmd because there's no graphical user interface. 
winfr source-drive: destination-drive [/mode] [/switches] is the basic command format.
Check your file systems by clicking “This PC”, then right-click on the drive which saves your lost files before deleting, then click  “Properties”. 

check-file-system

Step 1. Enter “Windows File Recovery” in the search bar of the Microsoft Store and click “Get”. Then this app will be downloaded and installed on your computer.

microsoft-store-ge

Step 2. Input Windows File Recovery in the search box, then click “Run as administrator”.

windows-file-recovery-run-as-adminstrator

Step 3. Check possible scenarios for data loss with the following forms after checking your file systems, then select a suitable mode comprehensively.

Scenarios for data loss

File system

Circumstances

Recommended mode

NTFS

Deleted recently

Regular

NTFS

Deleted a while ago

Extensive

NTFS

After formatting a disk

Extensive

NTFS

A corrupted disk

Extensive

FAT and exFAT

Any

Extensive

Step 4. Resemble your command line with the common General and Advanced syntax.

General syntax:

Parameter / switch  

Description

Supported mode(s)

/regular

Regular mode, the standard recovery option for non-corrupted NTFS drives

Regular

/extensive

Extensive mode, a thorough recovery option suitable for all file systems

Extensive

/n

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/

All

Advanced syntax:

Switch

Description

Supported modes

/ntfs

NTFS mode, a fast recovery option for healthy NTFS drives using the master file table

NTFS

/segment

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

Segment

/signature

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

Signature

/y:

Recover specific extension groups, comma separated

Signature

Step 5. Here come some extensive mode examples.

Example 1. Recover files with the string “invoice” in the filename using wildcard characters. winfr E: C: /extensive /n * invoice*

Example 2. Recover jpg and png images from your Pictures folder to the recovery folder on E drive.

winfr C: E: /extensive /n \Users\Pictures \*JPG /n \Users\< username>\ Pictures \*

Step 6. Press “y” to continue. Then you can open the target folder including your recovered files on the destination drive you’ve chosen before.

Free WinfrGUI (Windows File Recovery GUI)

Apart from Windows File Recovery, we’re more willing to share other prominent Windows file recovery tools with you. Supported by AOMEI Tech, WinfrGUI (Windows File Recovery GUI) could be regarded as a handy tool. Three factors can explain this.

First, WinfrGUI is a reliable utility because it has invoked all the functions of Windows File Recovery. Second, enabled with a graphical user interface, WinfrGUI can assist you to recover your deleted or lost documents, photographs, audio, and others within simple clicks on Windows 10/11 easier. Third, it’s 100% free.

Download Freeware Win 10 2004 and above
Secure Download
    Tips:
  1. Please check for updates to ensure your software is the latest version.
  2. If there’s a stop during the scanning process, WinfrGUI will continue recovering data from the scanned files.

Step 1. Download and install WinfrGUI on your computer. Then all the partitions can be seen after loading the disk.

Step 2. Select one partition to scan data, then select a destination place to save your recovered deleted files.

select-a-partition-to-scan

Step 3. You can choose Quick Scan or Deep Scan according to your scenarios. Then click “Advanced Settings” to select some file types or folders you need.

choose-scan-mode-to-recover

Step 4. Click the “Start Recovery” to start the scanning process. You can get your recovered files in your destination drive after scanning.

click-start-recovery

The most recommended: AOMEI Data Recovery for Windows 

Are you want to retain the recovered files' original file name, format, and path? Are you seeking other user-friendly software? AOMEI Data Recovery for Windows can cater to your varied needs.

Please get an overview of this professional Windows File Recovery utility.

The combined scanning method (Quick Scan and Deep Scan ) can detect all the deleted and other lost files from SSD/HDD. That means it is retrievable for the deleted/lost files from SSD/HDD. 

You're allowed to recover 200+ types of data such as MS Office, Photos, Audios, Emails, and Compressed files. 

❥All-inclusive:  It applies to broader data loss scenarios in Windows.

❥High-compatible: It supports NTFS, FAT32, exFAT, and ReFS in Windows 11/10/8/7 and Windows Server. 

Please follow the steps below to try out this Windows File Recovery utility.

Step 1. Download, install, and run AOMEI Data Recovery for Windows on your computer. 

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

Step 2. Select the partition/disk containing your needed files, and click "Start Scan".

select-a-partition-to-scan

Step 3. The Quick Scan and Deep Scan will run automatically. After searching, you'll see all your deleted and lost files on the window.

scan-lost-data

Step 4. Confirm the scanning results and click "Recover x files". Then specify a destination path to save these recovered files. 

recover-lost-data

In conclusion

How to recover deleted files using the free Windows File Recovery utility? Both Windows File Recovery and WinfrGUI are available and free. If you’re good with computers, your computer skills can come in handy using Windows File Recovery. In comparison, Windows Data Recovery for Windows might be more favorable to the public. 

Practice proved that there’s nothing more critical than making regular and valuable backups. Can you imagine? If there’s an accessible backup including your needed files, you can recover your deleted files from this valuable backup. That means you can save limited storage and avoid downloading data recovery software on your PC.

To some degree, AOMEI Backupper is a good assistant for making automatic, full, incremental, and differential backups. You can also sync your local files and folders to your USB or cloud drives. Besides, it supports disk upgrade and data migration like cloning HDD to SSD, and HDD to HDD.