Windows File Recovery: How do I use the secret file recovery tool in Windows 10?

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Who has never inadvertently lost or deleted an important file? Between human errors, bugs or hard drive problems, if you are a PC user, you have been affected by such a problem in one way or another. Fortunately, there are a lot of file recovery tools available, most of which are very effective. These include third party tools such as Recuva and EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard. Until now, Microsoft has never offered a file recovery tool for Windows 10. But recently, a Windows specialist named Walking Cat discovered a Microsoft program called Windows Recovery Tool.


As its name suggests, Windows File Recovery is a file recovery utility. It allows users to recover their files when they have been deleted from a storage device (USB key, SD card, hard drive). The software is free and can be downloaded from the Microsoft Store.

The utility offers three recovery modes:

  • Default: uses the NTFS file system’s Master File Table (MFT) to display the list of files on the storage device and retrieve lost files.
  • Segment : The segment mode does not use MFT but segments. These segments are, in a way, summaries of the file information found in the MFT. They include the name, date, file type, or size.
  • Signature: While this mode is not effective for small files, it has the advantage of working in MFT or segment and requires only the (hidden) presence of the data.

After downloading, the software installs directly in the Start menu. However, it launches as a command line tool named winen.exe.


Here is the procedure to use Windows File Recovery :

  1. Download the software

    Windows File Recovery can be downloaded directly from the Microsoft Store.

  2. Launching the Windows Recovery Tool

    After downloading, the software is installed directly in the Start menu. It is necessary to launch it as an administrator. To do this, right click on the icon of the tool. You can also launch the command prompt as an administrator and type the command “winfr.exe” (without quotes) in the tool interface.

  3. Running a search

    The software lists the various useful commands. When you use Windows File Recovery, you must necessarily specify the source drive, search filters and finally the recovery mode. For example, to find all the PDF files deleted from hard disk C: and restore them to hard disk E: using the default mode, you will have to type the following command: winfr C: E: /n *.PDF

Unlike the third-party tools mentioned above, Windows File Recovery is not a general-purpose utility. As you can see, it is intended for experienced users and other hobbyists. Let’s hope that the Redmond firm makes it a more accessible utility and decides to integrate it in a future Windows 10 feature update.

Source: Bleeping Computer

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