Most computer users have experienced the panic and frustration that comes with accidentally permanently deleting important files. Luckily, the Windows 10 operating system comes with several built-in utilities that can be harnessed to recover these files. The Command Prompt or cmd, heralded for its potent troubleshooting and system management capabilities, is one such tool.
Demystifying the Process
When a file is permanently deleted — whether intentionally with “Shift+Del” or unintentionally from the recycle bin — it doesn’t disappear into the ether. Its physical presence is maintained on the hard drive, but its logical link in the file system gets deleted. This indicates to the system that the space it occupies can be overwritten. Before that happens, your file can be recovered.
Your chances of recovery are high if the file was recently deleted. However, if the system has been heavily used since, the file’s space might have been overwritten, making it irrecoverable.
Windows 10 Cmd for File Recovery
The Command Line is an incredibly powerful system tool but should be handled with care. Incorrect commands can lead to unintended consequences like system instability or data loss. Still, for the savvy user, it offers a feasible method for recovering permanently deleted files. Here’s how:
Step 1: Type ‘cmd’ in the Windows search box and run as Administrator.
Step 2: Input ‘chkdsk D: /r’ and press Enter. Replace ‘D’ with the letter of the drive where the file was stored. This command checks for physical and logical errors and corrects them.
Step 3: Once the previous step completes, type ‘D:’ and Enter.
Step 4: Now type ‘attrib -h -r -s /s /d *.*’ and Enter. This command recovers your permanently deleted files.
Understanding the Command
In essence, ‘attrib’ alters the attributes of a file or folder. Here’s what each flag does:
-h- It modifies the ‘hidden’ attribute of a file or folder, making it visible.
-r- This denotes ‘read-only’, making the file editable.
-s- This affects the ‘system’ attribute of the file, essentially changing it to a regular file.
/s /d- These commands mean ‘search’ and ‘directory’, directing the system to navigate through all directories and subdirectories.
However, this method isn’t always effective. Sometimes, corrupted or overwritten files can’t be recovered using cmd.
Supplementing with Third-Party Software
For instances where the cmd method falls short, you can turn to data recovery tools. Softwares like Recuva, EaseUS, and Stellar Data Recovery are designed to battle data loss scenarios, offering quick, deep scan modes to recover permanently deleted files on Windows 10.
It’s important to note, however, that no method guarantees 100% file recovery. Therefore, the best defense is a good offense — regularly backup your important files to avoid the dire straits of data loss.
A Word of Caution
Experimenting with the cmd or data recovery tools should be done with utmost care. If you’re in doubt or dealing with sensitive corporate data, it might be prudent to seek professional help. Also, remember to limit system use after the deletion to prevent overwriting.
Losing files can be a nightmare, but with utilities like the cmd and third-party software, all hope is not lost. Knowledge about their operation and usage can be a life-saver in times of accidental deletions or system failures.