Imagine, if you will, someone selling an old sewing machine. Heavy, unwieldy and covered with decades of dust, but still fully functional if you know what you’re doing. Now imagine this antique sitting on the shelf of your local Walmart, right next to a new shiny toaster. This is the news Windows file recovery tool.
Microsoft has released the tool to help users who have lost files that are now unrecoverable, either because they did not go to the trash in Windows 10 or because the drive suffered some sort of horrible hardware failure. Good! But Microsoft did it as a command line tool – it only works in the command prompt (cmd.exe) or the new Windows terminal. Strange. And it’s a free download for all users. Good! They download it from the Microsoft Store, sitting next to Candy Crush and Sea of Thieves. Strange.
Strange juxtapositions of tools separated by decades of computer interfaces aside, it seems to work, at least for some users. I was able to get it to scan my primary SSD for ZIP files (including deleted ones) and save them to a newly created folder on my secondary hard drive. It was like rubbing sticks to make a fire.
Remember that the files recovered from a drive must be transferred to a separate drive in the tool (so you will need a flash drive or an external hard drive if your computer only has one) . And also that, due to the way Windows manages free space on the disk, recently lost files are more likely to be recovered successfully. But if you launch the tool, you can pretty easily filter by folder or file type. If you need help with the syntax, check out this Microsoft page. And if you need this tool and want an interface of this century, there are lots of alternatives.