Windows 10’s latest tweak is a game-changer for getting back your lost files

Surface User
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Windows 10’s file recovery tool is being changed to make it easier to use, and therefore more accessible to a wider number of users who might need this emergency measure if they’ve accidentally deleted an important file.

This is only available for Windows 10 testers at the moment, but it’s expected to be rolled out to the general computing public ‘early in 2021’, so might arrive fairly soon (note that you’ll need to be running Windows 10 May 2020 Update or newer).

The Windows File Recovery tool has been around for a while in preview versions of the OS – since mid-2020, in fact – but with this new update, Microsoft is making it more user-friendly.

Note that the utility does use the command line – not the friendliest piece of the Windows UI jigsaw, it has to be said – but the adjustments made here go a long way to pushing forward on the ease-of-use front.

The refreshed version of the utility offers two simplified recovery modes, Microsoft explains, one of which is the ‘regular mode’ that allows for fast file recovery on NTFS drives. This should be fine for those cases when you’ve not long ago emptied the recycle bin, then subsequently realized that you actually wanted to keep one (or more) of the files you binned.

Deep recovery

There will also be an ‘extensive mode’ that applies to other file systems (not just NTFS), and will perform deeper file recovery operations, after longer periods of time have passed since you mistakenly blitzed the file, and it may have been fully overwritten by other data. (Remember that even when you ‘delete’ a file on a drive, the data still remains – effectively discarded and hidden from the OS, but still there – until it’s actually overwritten by a new file coming onto the drive, which is likely to happen in the longer run).

The extensive recovery facility can also attempt to tackle thorny problems like corrupt drives (or indeed memory cards and other storage types).

As well as these changes, the updated Windows File Recovery tool comes with various performance improvements and bug fixes, so should run smoother all round.

Microsoft observes that there has been a lot of interest in the app, which isn’t surprising given that it’s handy to have an integrated option for quickly retrieving deleted files.

You can download Windows File Recovery from the Microsoft Store here, although as mentioned the new version isn’t ready yet – but hopefully will be in the next couple of months.

Perhaps eventually, the file recovery tool will move from the command line and actually get a graphical user interface of some kind, which would obviously be a distinct boon on the usability front.

Via Windows Latest

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).