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Microsoft releases Windows File Recovery app

The new command line tool can retrieve deleted files from your hard drive

Microsoft has unveiled its own Windows File Recovery app, a tool that can retrieve documents you’ve mistakenly deleted.

“Accidentally deleted an important file? Wiped clean your hard drive? Unsure of what to do with corrupted data? Windows File Recovery can help recover your personal data,” says the Microsoft Store’s listing for the app.

“For photos, documents, videos and more, Windows File Recovery supports many file types to help ensure that your data is not permanently lost.”

This tool can recover not only Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents, but also JPEG and PNG images, PDFs, MP3 files, MP4 videos, ZIP files and others. The app requires users to be running Windows 10 build 19041 or higher.

Microsoft’s Support website offers more information about the tool and its three different modes: 

Default mode: It uses the Master File Table to locate lost documents.

Signature mode: This may end up being the most popular option. It only requires the data to be present, and it allows users to search for specific file types. It won’t work for small files. Importantly, this is the only mode you can use to recover a file from an external storage device like a USB drive. 

Segment mode: This doesn’t require the Master File Table (MFT), but it does require file segments to be present. Segments are summaries of file information that the NTFS file system stores in the MFT such as name, date, size, type, and the cluster/allocation unit index.

“Recovering from a camera or SD card? Try Signature mode, which expands beyond NTFS recovery and caters to your storage device needs,” says the app listing.

“Let this app be your first choice for helping to find what you need from your hard drive, SSD (*limited by TRIM), USB drive, or memory cards.”

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