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Deletion is a commonly employed feature among Windows users. Your keyboard is equipped with a “Del” button specifically designed for removing files and folders, making it a highly practical function that is frequently utilized in daily tasks. However, there is also a potential drawback to this convenience. On occasion, we may unintentionally delete images, videos, or entire folders without careful consideration, often due to accidental clicks or touches of the delete key or icon. Some might argue that this is precisely why the Recycle Bin exists.

Further, not all the deleted files go to the Recycle Bin, especially the ones deleted through the DOS command line. Also, files deleted by Shift + Delete also don’t go to the Recycle Bin.

In this blog post, we will delve into the process of file recovery using the Microsoft Windows Recovery Tool. Before delving deeper into this tool and the recovery procedure, it is crucial to gain an understanding of how file storage and file deletion function. This foundational knowledge will enable us to approach file recovery with greater comprehension.

What is a File System?

A file system is responsible for organizing, accessing, and overseeing data storage on a storage device. It plays a crucial role in enabling the Operating System to efficiently store data, discern the boundaries between different data sets, and retrieve specific data items. Within the Windows Operating System, three distinct file systems are supported: NTFS, FAT32, and exFAT.

  • NTFS– New Technology File System(NTFS) is the latest and default file system on Windows. It uses MFT – Master File Table to store file attributes such as Filename, data, Index, etc. A backup of MFT is also kept for backup and restoration purposes.


  • FAT32– FAT32 is an older and more widely used File System but has limitations in terms of efficiency as compared to NTFS. It has a reserved area for basic format information and at least one FAT area for allocation table entry details.


  • exFAT– Extensible File Allocation System (exFAT), released by Microsoft, is optimized for USB drives and SD cards and includes some improvements over FAT32.
How does a File System store and delete data?

All file systems, including Apple File System (APFS) and others, maintain records of data associated with files and folders. Whenever a new file is created, an entry is added to these records or tables. These records are updated when a file is modified or when its attributes change. When a file is deleted, the actual data of the file isn’t immediately erased. Instead, the file system updates the entry to indicate that the space occupied by the deleted file is now available for reuse or overwriting. File recovery software, such as the Windows File Recovery tool, relies on these entries within the file system to identify and recover corrupted or deleted data.

By now, you should grasp that even after a file is deleted or corrupted, the data persists but isn’t readily retrievable. It’s advisable to refrain from using your system or drive for any other tasks until recovery, as doing so might overwrite the data and complicate the recovery process.

What is Windows Recovery Tool?

Starting with Windows 10 build 19041, users can use Windows Recovery Tool to recover and retrieve corrupt or deleted data such as files, images, documents, and even folders. This tool can be used to recover data present on a system drive, USB drive, external Hard disk or SD card. It cannot recover data from cloud storage or Network File System. Windows recovery tool supports recovery for NTFS, FAT, exFAT, and ReFS File systems.

Modes of Operation

Windows recovery tool has three modes, and it is very important to know them to be able to use the right mode as per requirement. The three modes of operation are:

  • Default Mode– It relies on the Master File Table(MFT) and File Record Segments(FRS) to recover lost or deleted files. Without MFT and FRS, this mode cannot recover all data.
  • Segment Mode– Segment mode does not rely on MFT or FRS and makes use of segments, which include file summaries.
  • Signature Mode– This mode doesn’t require any File system structure to retrieve data. It searches for the required file types directly. It is best suited for non-NTFS storage devices.

Due to variations in their operational mechanisms, each mode is better suited for recovery in specific circumstances. Selecting the appropriate mode is crucial to achieve optimal outcomes.

Microsoft recommends using these modes depending on the File system and circumstances as below:

 File system and circumstances

How to recover files using Windows File Recovery Tool?

Please take note that the Windows Recovery Tool operates through the command line interface, and it’s essential to have some familiarity with command line operations to effectively utilize this tool. Let’s get started.

  1. Ideally, the tool should be part of your Windows 10 suite. If not, you can download and install it from the Microsoft store.
  2. Go to Start and search for Windows File Recovery. Click on the resultant application.
  3. While starting, the application would request to allow it to make changes to your device. Click on Yes.
  4. A command prompt window will open up. Now, you just have to enter one command to recover your file in the below format:
    winner source-drive: destination-drive: [/switches]
    In this command,
  • winner refers to Windows File Recovery,
  • source-drive refers to the directory path where the required file(s) is/was located,
  • destination-drive refers to the path to store the recovered file(s), and
  • switches refer to various additional options available which are to be used based on your requirement
  • NOTE: Source and destination drives must not be the same. Also, the tool will automatically create a folder named – Recovery_ on the destination drive. Recovered files will be saved under this folder.

Let us show some examples to cover a range of commands.

1. Default Mode

  • To recover abc.docx file in C: drive under Documents folder on a D: drivewinfr C: D: /n \Users\\Documents\abc.docx
  • To recover all the jpeg and png files under Pictures folder on a D: drivewinfr C: D: /n \Users\\Pictures\*.JPEG /n \Users\\Pictures\*.PNG
  • To recover Downloads folder from C: drive to a D: drive winfr C: D: /n \Users\\Downloads\

    NOTE: For a folder, it is a must to keep the backslash in the end.

  • 2 . Segment Mode (/r)
    For segment mode, ‘/r/ is to be inserted in the command.

  • To recover all PDF and Word files from C Drive to D drive
    winfr C: D: /r /n *.pdf /n *.docx
  • 3. Signature Mode (/x)

  • For signature mode, ‘/x’ is to be added in the command.
    To find out the supported file types for signature mode
    winfr /#
  • To recover ZIP files from C: drive to D: drive
    winfr C: E: /x /y:ZIP

We trust that these examples have provided you with a clearer understanding of how to structure your commands when utilizing the Windows Recovery Tool for file recovery. Nevertheless, mastering these commands is not a straightforward endeavor and may not be suitable for everyone. To fully harness their potential, one must delve into a multitude of other options, which can be a time-consuming and cumbersome process, particularly for those who are unaccustomed to working with the command line beyond simply copying and pasting commands.

For those of us who struggle with the commands and are looking for a better and quick method to recover files, we have just the right tool for you.

Recover permanently deleted files with Kernel for Windows Data Recovery

Here we are going to mention a simpler and quicker way to recover deleted files for free. If you were looking for something like this, please keep reading. Kernel for Windows Data Recovery (Free Version) tool is a one-stop solution to recover any type of lost, deleted, or permanently deleted files. This Free Windows Data Recovery Software provides a simple GUI wherein you can just select your drive and recover all the lost or corrupted data in easy steps. With this free version of the tool, you can recover up to 2GB data for free. In addition to that, there are no commands to be learned for using this tool. Operating this tool is so simple that even beginners can use it without any issue. Here we are going to mention the step by step process of how this tool works. Let’s begin:

  • Download the tool from the website and install it properly in your system.
  • Once installed, run the tool and in the home screen of the tool, click on the Quick scan or any other required scanning mode.Kernel for Windows Data Recovery (Free Version)
  • Now, from the given drives, select the drive from which you want to recover the deleted data. Click on Next once the drive
  • As you proceed, the tool will show you the disk information; you will need to click Next on that page. Once done, the tool will start the scanning process, wait for the process to finish.start the scanning process
    Note: To see the progress, click on the show or hide the progress button. For a faster result, click on the Hide Progress.
  • Now, you will see that all the files and folders from that particular drive are there on the screen. If there is something missing, change your scanning mode. To proceed, click on Ok.scanning mode
  • The files and folders mentioned on the screen, click on any of them to have the preview of the desired files.preview
  • In Recovery Settings, apply the set filters for duplicate files, deleted files, bad sectors, etc. Once done, click on OK.Recovery Settings
  • The tool comes with a Find feature, clicking on which you can look for the desired file. Enter the keyword in the search box and click on the Start Search.Enter the keyword in the search box
  • Now, provide a destination to the files you are going to recover by clicking on the Browse button. Once allocated a place, click on OK.provide a destination to the files
  • Wait for the saving process to finish; once done, click on OK to finish.Wait for the saving process to finish


In this blog, we started with a detailed understanding of what a file system is. We covered three main file systems used in Windows operating systems. Then we explained how file data is stored using file systems. We briefly covered how a file system provides a way for recovery tools to retrieve files that have been deleted or corrupted. Then we moved to the Windows File Recovery Tool and its three modes of operation. Next was the most critical and difficult part, how to use Windows File Recovery Tool. We provided various examples for each operating mode and gave the sample commands for each of those scenarios. In the end, we recommended Kernel for Windows Data Recovery (Free Version) Tool for those who prefer a GUI based and quick solution for recovery of their files and data. We provided the working process of the tool with the help of screenshots for a better understanding. We have also mentioned some unique features of the tool like the Find feature. Hope this blog helped you!

Kernel for Windows Data Recovery