How to recover deleted files in Windows 10 without the need for programs

Getting it wrong or repenting is part of human nature, so we're not going to judge anyone if you ever have to recover deleted files. It's happened to all of us sometimes.

Maybe you deleted documents without realizing it, or deleted photos and videos because they occupied a lot, and now you regret it.

The Recycle Bin is the first Windows lifeguard, but if it's full, the files were very large and didn't fit, or you usually empty it every day, those deleted files will have been lost... forever? Luckily, it's not yes.

Until now, to recover deleted files you had to resort to third-party applications. You had to install a program external to Windows and in most cases it had advertising, was paid, or was difficult to understand.

A few months ago Windows 10 debuted a new tool called Windows File Recovery. It's not very comfortable to use but it's free, it integrates into Windows, and it's quite efficient.

Why we can recover deleted files

Perhaps when you have set out to rescue lost files, you have asked yourself an obvious question: why can I recover them if I have deleted them?

The reason is that when we delete files, the operating system doesn't actually delete them. They remain on disk but are removed from the list of available files (FAT or MFT, depending on how the disk is formatted).

This means that the space they occupy is available to write over. If we have not copied new files to the disk and we are lucky that nothing has been written on it, we will be able to recover them intact. But if something has been written, we will surely only partially recover them, and their contents will be corrupted.

Chances of recovering files

Recuperar archivos Windows 10

As we have seen, deleted files are not deleted from the disk, but the place they occupy is free to overwrite them with another file that we copy.

Therefore, the chances of recovering a document or video depend first on its size: as smaller, it is more likely it has not been overwritten.

But the most important thing is the time elapsed since we deleted it. As more time passes it is more likely that a new file has been copied over it. Even if we haven't, Windows 10 often creates temporary files or defragments the disk on its own.

Finally, if the disk is formatted in NTFS format, it is more likely to be recovered than if it is in FAT32 or similar.

What is Windows File Recovery

WIndows 10

Windows File Recovery is a new Windows 10 tool that Microsoft premiered a few months ago.

Until now, when you wanted to recover deleted data from your computer that wasn't in the trash or in a backup, you had to resort to third-party applications, which in many cases were paid for, or had advertising, or weren't very effective.

With Windows File Recovery you can now perform this task with a free Windows tool.

What types of files we can recover

Windows File Recovery supports major disk partition systems: NTFS, FAT, exFAT, and ReFS. It can also work on hard drives, SSDs, pen drives, and SD or micro SD memory cards.


You cannot recover all file types, but the most commonly used ones: JPEG, PDF, PNG, MPEG, Office documents, MP3, MP4, and ZIP compressed files, among others.

Download to installation

Windows File Recovery is an official Windows 10 tool. But it doesn't install automatically, you have to download and install it on your own.

An important fact is that for it to work you must have the Windows 10 2004 version installed. In other words, have updated Windows over the past year.

To update Windows 10 and then go to the Microsoft Store, which you'll find on the Windows 10 Start button.

In the store browser type Windows File Recovery to appear:

Microsoft Store

Press the Get button to download and install it on your PC.

How to use Windows File Recovery

We reach the most controversial point of the tool: it is an application that works in text mode, with the command line.

In other words, you have to type orders to use it. It's a little awkward and smooth to understand, but once you know the different options, you won't have any problems.


First, we need to start the tool. In the Windows browser, in the lower-left corner of the taskbar, type: Windows File Recovery.

Start the tool. The command window opens with a help screen and the various commands you need to type to use the app:

WIndows Fiel Recovery

The key to understanding it is knowing that we have to choose a mode of use, and the type of files we want to recover.

The commands we can typically have this scheme:

info source unit target unit /mode /filters

That is, we must indicate the drive where we want to search, the destination drive to save recovered files, how to do so, and additional filters.

The modes

Windows File Recovery has two modes of use: Normal and Extensive.

Normal mode is used to recover recently deleted files, just a few days ago, on NTFS-formatted disks.

Extensive mode, for everything else. For example, disks in FAT32 or exFAT, or when the files were deleted a long time ago. It takes a lot longer.

To find out what type of disks you have, go to File Explorer, right-click the disk icon, and choose the Properties command. On the Generate l tab, you'll see the file system:

Windows 10

If you don't want to get in line you can do the first search in Normal mode, and if you don't recover what you were looking for, another in Extensive mode.

The commands are as follows:

Normal mode: /regular

Extensive mode: /extensive


To help Windows 10 find the deleted files, we can give you some data. That's what the filter command is used for/n

There are several different uses.

/n filename –We look for a specific file name. For example: /n photo de them.jpg

/n search folder: indicate the folder where we want to search. example:. /n 'photos', 'holiday'

/n *: The asterisk is a wildcard, and means it can be any letter or set of letters. For example, to find files that start with h we use /n h*.*

If you want all photos in JPG: /n *. JPG

If we want all files containing the word dog: /n *dog*

There are advanced filters, but they are very technical, for very specific tasks. You have them all on this Microsoft website.

Some examples

Now that we know how it's used, let's use the tool with some examples. Simply type the command next to the cursor that appears in the command window:

WIndows 10

The simplest option: recover all deleted files from C: disk, saving them to disk E: Winfr C: E: /regular


Windows 10 will create a recovery folder on the destination disk, and there it will save everything. Note that searching the entire disk can take a long time.

Recover in extensive mode: Winfr C: E: /extensive

Recover only within the Holiday folder on disk D: Winfr D: E: /regular /n 'holiday'

Retrieve a file that is called KEYS. TXT disk D: Winfr D: E: /regular /n KEYS. TXT

Recover all MP4 videos from the VIDEOS folder on disk H: in extensive mode: Winfr H: E: /extensive /n .videos*. MP4

Recover all files that have the word laura from the F: disc, in normal mode: Winfred F: E: /regular /n *laura*

As you can see it is not difficult to use, but you have to be careful to always indicate the unit where you are looking, the drive where you save the recovered, the model, and the filter that you want.

The results

After entering the command, Windows File Recovery will prompt you for confirmation (press the Y key), and start searching. On the screen you will see the files you find:

Windows file recovery

When you're done, you'll find the files in the folder on the destination disk that we've put in, and it's called RECOVERY_(numbers).

Go into it and see if the files you're looking for are here:

Windows 10

Windows File Recovery will recover as many files as you can, but that is readable or meaningless gibberish depends on the recovery percentage, that is, whether much or little has been overwritten about them.

In many cases, you will be able to read a part of the document or see the recovered photo chunk, but in others, there will be random data.

Little else can we do: if the original information has been written on top it has been deleted, and it can no longer be recovered, except with forensic techniques, by a specialized company.

What other alternatives do I have?

Recuperar ficheros borrados

If after using Windows File Recovery you have not managed to recover the files you were looking for, you can use third-party tools like Recuva, which has a free version.

Post a Comment