In this post, MiniTool Software shows you how to use Microsoft’ Windows File Recovery tool, which was first introduced in Windows 10 version 2004 (Windows 10 May 2020 Update), to restore deleted files Windows 10. Additionally, it also shows you a Windows File Recovery alternative.

Do You Know Microsoft’s Windows File Recovery Tool?

When you delete or lose some important files on your Windows 10 computer, the first thing you think should be how to restore deleted files in Windows 10. If you still can find the files in Recycle Bin, you can directly restore them from Recycle Bin to their original location.

However, if the files are deleted permanently, you can’t find them in Recycle Bin. If you have backed up these files previously, you can restore them from your backup. When there are no available backups, you will need to use data recovery software.

You can try Microsoft’s Windows File Recovery tool.

This tool is new. Not all of you are familiar with it. But it is useful. If you have an interest, you can read this article to learn how to use this utility to undelete files Windows 10.

Note: Since this tool is only available in Windows 20H1 and the later Windows versions, you need to make sure that your system supports it. If you don’t know which version you are running, you can go to Start > Settings > System > About to see which version of Windows 10 you have.

Windows File Recovery is not preinstalled on your Windows 10 computer. You need to download it from Microsoft Store and then install it for further use. The following content includes how to download and install it on your computer and how to use this Microsoft file recovery tool to recover files from drives with different kinds of file systems.

How to Download and Install Windows File Recovery?

To protect your computer, you’d better download this Microsoft file recovery tool from Microsoft Store, which is a digital distribution platform owned by Microsoft.

Now, we will show you how to download and install Windows File Recovery via Microsoft Store:

1. Use Windows search to search for Microsoft Store and select the first result to open it.

2. Click the Search icon on the top-right side of Microsoft Store and use it to search for windows file recovery.

3. Click Windows File Recovery from the search result.

4. On the next page, you need to click Get to download this utility.

click Get

5. Click Install to install the tool on your computer.

6. When the installation process ends, you can click the Launch button to directly open it. If you don’t need to use it immediately, you can just close Microsoft Store and do other things you want to do.

Windows File Recovery

How to Use Windows File Recovery?

Note: As a dedicated file recovery tool, Windows File Recovery can recover lost or deleted files that are not overwritten by new data. So, you’d better minimize or avoid using your PC after data loss to increase your chances of restoring files.

Step 1: Check Whether Your Computer Supports Windows File Recovery

As mentioned above, Windows File Recovery only works in Windows 10 20H1 or the later versions of Windows 10. If you are using an earlier Windows 10 version, you can upgrade your Windows to a supported version and then use this tool, or you can use a Windows File Recovery alternative to recover lost files in Windows 10.

Recommendation: What Version of Windows Do I Have? Check Version and Build Number.

Step 2: Decide Which Mode You Should Use

Till now, Windows File Recovery has two releases: the Winter 2020 release and the Summer 2020 release. In the newest release, the Winter 2020 release, the number of the recovery modes is decreased to 2 from 3. These two recovery modes are Regular mode and Extensive mode.

Relatively speaking, the Winter 2020 release is easier to use. So, we show you how to use Windows File Recovery Winter 2020 release and its two modes to restore deleted files Windows 10.

Which mode should you use to retrieve deleted files on your Windows 10 computer? It depends on multiple elements. For example, which file system is used by the drive that you want to undelete data from, how long has the file been deleted, and how the file gets lost (the drive is formatted or corrupted).

About File System

  • If it is an SD card, flash drive, or USB drive that is smaller than 4GB, it is usually formatted to FAT or exFAT.
  • If it is a computer hard drive, an external hard drive, flash drive, or USB drive whose capacity exceeds 4GB, it is usually formatted to NTFS.

If you are not sure which file system you are using, you can right-click that drive and then select Properties to make a confirmation.

check file system in Properties

Select a Mode

The following table can help you choose a suitable mode. However, if you are not sure, you can start with the Regular mode.

File System


The mode you should use


The file was deleted recently

Regular mode


The file was deleted a while ago

Extensive mode


The disk was formatted

Extensive mode


The disk is corrupted

Extensive mode


Any situation

Extensive mode

Step 3: Use Windows File Recovery to Restore Lost Files in Windows 10

1. Click the Windows search icon to open it and type windows file recovery in the search box.

2. Select the first result to open this Microsoft Windows File Recovery tool.

search for Windows File Recovery

3. Click Yes if you receive User Account Control.

4. The command you need to use is the following format:

winfr source-drive: destination-drive: [/mode] [/switches]

Here, you need to know that the source disk and destination disk must be different. When recovering data from the operating system drive (usually it is drive C: ), you need to use the /n <filter> switches to specify the user files or folder.

To be specific,

Use the Regular mode:

① If you want to recover files from the Documents folder on your C drive to E drive, you need to type the following command. Here, you should not forget the backslash mark at the end of the folder:

Winfr C: E: /regular /n \Users\<username>\Documents\

② If you want to recover the PDF file and Word files from your C drive to E drive, you need to use the following command:

Winfr C: E: /regular /n *.pdf /n *.docx

③ If you want to recover a file which name contain the string test from C drive to E drive, you can try this command with wildcard characters:

Winfr C: E: /regular /n *test*

use Regular mode to recover a file

Use the Extensive mode:

① Likewise, you can use the Extensive mode to recover any file with the string test in the file name with wildcard characters like this:

Winfr E: C: /extensive /n *test*

use Extensive mode to recover a file

Compared with the Regular mode, this mode will take a longer time to finish the scanning and recovering process. You should wait patiently.

② To recover jpg and png photos from your Pictures folder to the recovery folder on the E drive, you can use this command:

Winfr C: E: /extensive /n \Users\<username>\Pictures\*.JPG /n\Users\<username>\Pictures\*.PNG

Tip: You can find more command-line syntax from

5. Windows will automatically create a recovery folder on the destination drive to save the recovered files. The folder is usually named in the format of Recovery_<date and time>.

the recovery folder on the destination drive

6. When seeing Continue? (y/n) popping up in Command Prompt, you need to press the Y key on your keyboard to continue the recovering operation. You can press Ctrl+C to cancel the recovery process.

7. If you are using the Extensive mode, you may see View recovered files? (y/n) when the recovery process ends. You can press the Y key on your keyboard to directly open the recovery folder.

view recovered files

These are the steps to use Windows File Recovery to recover files on your Windows 10 computer. For a beginner, the command lines are not so friendly. You need to remember them and you can’t make any mistake. You can use a Windows File Recovery alternative is you want things to be easier. Here is a choice.

A Windows File Recovery Alternative

MiniTool Power Data Recovery is a free file recovery tool, which is specially designed to recover data on Windows computers. It has four recovery modes: This PC, Hard Disk Drive, Removable Disk Drive, and CD/DVD Drive. Besides, this software also supports the HFS+ file system.

supported files systems

With these four modes, you can recover data from all kinds of drives like internal hard drives, external hard drives, SD cards, memory cards, USB flash drives, and more. No matter the drive is reformatted or corrupted, you can use this software to recover the lost files in it as long as they are not overwritten by new data. If your computer is unbootable, you can use the bootable edition of this software to rescue your files.

With the free edition of this software, you can recover 1GB of data without paying any cent. You can try it first and then update to a full edition if you want to undelete more files.

MiniTool Power Data Recovery FreeClick to Download100%Clean & Safe

Unlike Windows File Recovery, you don’t need to remember the recovery commands. With some simple clicks, you can get your needed data back:

1. Download and install this software on your computer.

2. Click its shortcut to open the software.

3. Under This PC, you can select the drive you want to recover data from.

4. Click the Start button to start the scanning process.

select the target drive to scan

5. When the scanning process ends, you can see the scan results.

6. Find and select the files you want to recover.

7. Click the Save button and select a suitable location to save the selected items. You should select another path rather than the original location to save files. Otherwise, the lost files may be overwritten and become unrecoverable.

save your selected files

With these steps, you can easily undelete your files.


If you are a professional user, you may prefer to use Microsoft’s Windows File Recovery tool to restore lost files in Windows 10. If you are an ordinary user, MiniTool Power Data Recovery should be easier to use. You can just select a suitable utility according to your situation and requirement.

Should you have any related issues, you can let us know in the comments or contact us via [email protected].

Windows File Recovery Tool FAQ

How do I open Windows file recovery?
You should have installed Windows File Recovery on your computer. If so, you can use Windows search to search for windows file recovery and select the first result to open it.
Can you recover permanently deleted files on Windows?
As long as the permanently deleted files are not overwritten by new data, you can use professional data recovery software like MiniTool Power Data Recovery to get them back.
How do I repair a corrupted file in Windows 10?
You can use third-party software to repair your corrupted files. This article is helpful: How to Repair Corrupt Files after Recovery Windows 10/Mac?
Can you recover files that were cut and paste?
Yes, you can use professional data recovery software to get them back. You can find detailed guides in this post: Solved – How to Recover Files Lost After Cut and Paste.
  • linkedin
  • reddit