File recovery

How to recover permanently deleted files on Windows 10

If you're using Windows 10 version 2004, you can use the Windows File Recovery tool to restore permanently delete files, and here's how.

Windows File Recovery for Windows 10

On Windows 10, if you accidentally deleted a file, data got corrupted, or erased a hard drive by mistake, you can use the Windows File Recovery tool to help you recover those files without the need to send the drive to a data recovery company or costly recovery tools.

Windows File Recovery is a free command line tool that is capable of recovering a lot of file formats from the system’s hard drive, external USB storage, or SD cards that have been permanently deleted, and you can’t recover from the Recycle Bin.

However, if you want to increase the chances of successful recovery, you must use the tool immediately as new deleted files still exist on the drive, but they’re marked for deletion, and they can get overwritten as new files are created.

In this guide, you’ll learn the steps to recover and restore deleted files using Windows File Recovery on Windows 10 version 2004.

Requirements 

To use the winfr command line tool to recover permanently deleted files, you’ll need:

Also, consider that depending on the amount of data and the size of the drive, the recovery process can take a very long time.

Install Windows File Recovery tool on Windows 10

To install the Windows File Recovery tool, use these steps:

  1. Open Microsoft Store.

  2. Click the Get button.

    Windows File Recovery download
    Windows File Recovery download
  3. Click the Open button.

  4. Click the Install button to add the Windows File Recovery to your device.

Once you complete the steps, you can proceed to scan and recover files using the tool on Windows 10.

Recover deleted files using Windows File Recovery

To recover permanently deleted files on Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.

  2. Search for Windows File Recovery and click the top result to open the tool.

  3. Type the following command to recover a specific file from the system drive (C) to the recovery folder on an alternative drive (E) and press Enter:

    winfr source-drive: destination-drive: [/switches]
    Quick tip: If you’re recovering from the Windows 10 drive, use the /n FILTER and /y:TYPES switches to specify the user files or folder.

    For example, the following command recover the Documents folder from the “C” drive on the “E” drive using the default mode:

    winfr c: e: /n \Users\USERNAME\Documents\
    Windows File Recovery
    Windows File Recovery

    In the command, make sure to update the path with the path to your Documents folder.

After you complete the steps, the tool will scan and restore the deleted files on a folder called “Recovery_DATE-AND-TIME” on the destination drive.

The steps outlined above uses the “Default” mode to perform the recovery, but the tool offers more options and modes, including “Segment” and “Signature.”

According to the Microsoft documentation, if you’re unsure of the method to use, then you should start with Default mode. However, the company recommends that for NTFS, you should use Default mode if the files were recently deleted. If the files were deleted a while ago, after formatting a drive, or a corrupted storage, then should first try the Segment, and then the Signature mode.

If you’re dealing with FAT, exFAT, ReFS file systems, then you should use the Signature mode. 

Use Windows File Recovery on Default mode 

To use the Default mode for file recovery, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.

  2. Search for Windows File Recovery and click the top result to open the tool.

  3. Type the following command to recover a specific file from the system drive (C) to the recovery folder on an alternative drive (E) and press Enter:

    winfr c: e: /n \Users\USERNAME\Documents\Contract.docx
  4. Type the following command recover .jpeg and .png photos from the Pictures folder to the recovery folder on a secondary drive (E) and press Enter:

    winfr c: e: /n \Users\USERNAME\Pictures\*.jpeg /n \Users\USERNAME\Pictures\*.png
  5. Type the following command recover the Documents folder from the system drive to the recovery folder on secondary drive (E) and press Enter:

    winfr c: e: /n \Users\USERNAME\Documents\

Use Windows File Recovery on Segment mode

To use the Segment mode to recover files, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.

  2. Search for Windows File Recovery and click the top result to open the tool.

  3. Type the following command to recover PDF and Word files from the system drive (C) to the recovery folder on a secondary drive (E) drive and press Enter:

    winfr c: e: /r /n *.pdf /n *.docx
  4. Type the following command to recover any file with the string “client” in the filename by using wildcard characters and press Enter:

    winfr c: e: /r /n *client*

Use Windows File Recovery on Signature mode

To use the Signature mode to recover files, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.

  2. Search for Windows File Recovery and click the top result to open the tool.

  3. Type the following command to see the supported extension groups and corresponding file types and press Enter: winfr /#

    winfr /#
  4. Type the following command to recover .jpeg (jpg, jpeg, jpe, jif, jfif, jfi) and .png photos from the system drive (C) to the recovery folder on a secondary drive (E) drive and press Enter:

    winfr c: e: /x /y:jpeg,png
  5. Type the following command recover .zip files (zip, docx, xlsx, ptpx, and so on) from the system drive (C) to the recovery folder on a secondary drive (E) drive and press Enter:

    winfr C: e:\recovery /x /y:zip
    

Once you complete the steps, the Windows File Recovery tool will try to restore the permanently deleted files automatically, and it’ll try to recover them inside a recovery folder in the destination folder.