Microsoft Windows File Recovery : Free CLI Tool for Data Recovery

Microsoft has released a CLI tool for data recovery on Windows on the Microsoft Store in form of a universal app. This Windows File Recovery tool can be used to recover files that you may have accidentally deleted without securely erasing them.

After installing Windows File Recovery from Microsoft Store, you can launch it from the Start menu. You can also launch an administrator level command prompt window (using Win+X) and then give the command WinFR.exe. This should display the basic syntax of using this file recovery tool.

Basically you have to provide the source drive (from where the files are to be recovered) and the destination path (where the recovered files are to be saved). There are some other options too for filtering files, or finding only files of a certain extension.

Microsoft Windows File Recovery

Windows File Recovery also offers some very advanced options that are meant only for advanced users. You can see these options by giving the command WinFR.exe /! in the command prompt. Some of the advanced options allow you to recover files without primary data stream (e.g, having ADS only), recover non-deleted files and auto-accept all the user prompts etc.

Microsoft Windows File Recovery

When scanning your volumes for files, WinFR can look only for the files having certain extensions. It has built-in extension groups and you can specify an extension group in order to look for files having the file extensions in that group. For example, when you specify ASF file extension group, it covers extensions WMA, WMV and ASF. You can use the command WinFR.exe /# to view all the available extension groups.

Microsoft Windows File Recovery

The tool does not seem to have a quick scanning mode. When we tried it to scan a removable 16 GB USB pendrive, it took more than 20 minutes to scan through the empty drive. We saw even slower progress when we tried to scan a 1 TB hard drive. But since the progress is thorough the results are impressive.

Microsoft Windows File Recovery

Conclusion: Windows File Recovery is a command line tool and that limits its use for many new Windows users. Perhaps in the future, Microsoft can add a GUI so more people feel comfortable recovering their lost files using this free tool.

You can download Windows File Recovery from

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