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Microsoft launches Windows File Recovery tool

Despite the prevalence of cloud storage and data backups, important files are still lost. Microsoft's Windows File Recovery tool aims to address the problem.

Microsoft has released a Windows application that lets IT professionals scan local storage devices for lost and deleted files.

The software, called Windows File Recovery, requires Windows 10 version 2004. The tool has been available at the Microsoft Store since the end of June.

The application lets users recover files from internal and external drives, USB devices and memory cards. The app recovers Office files, ZIP files, JPEGs, PDFs, and MPEGs from NTFS, FAT, exFAT and ReFS file systems.

Mark Bowker, a senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, said the Microsoft app shows that people still keep essential information on in-house devices despite the options of cloud storage and backups.

Recovering lost information has long been a difficult task for systems administrators, Bowker said. Many have had to turn to third-party technology, and, in extreme cases, ship drives to a lab to undelete files.

"[The job] required a specialist that would bring in their special skills and special tools to [provide] some opportunity to recover that file," Bowker said.

Assuming the tool works well, it could prove valuable for IT professionals, he said. If a user accidentally loses a file, the Windows File Recovery tool could offer an efficient means of correcting the mistake.

Windows tweaks

Microsoft also recently released the Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 20161. Changes in the preview include a redesign of the Start menu, new Alt-Tab functionality, and alterations to the notification system.

The Alt-Tab function lets users switch between tabs in the Microsoft Edge browser and between applications.

Mark Bowker, senior analyst, Enterprise Strategy GroupMark Bowker

The new Start menu design has replaced the solid-color backgrounds of application tiles with transparent ones. Notifications now include an app logo to show their origin, and an "X" button to quickly dismiss them.

The new build also moves information from the Control Panel to Settings; details that were once in the Control Panel's System page will now be in Settings > System > About.

Holger Mueller, vice president and principal analyst, Constellation ResearchHolger Mueller

The charges are not final and might not end up in any upcoming Windows 10 release, Microsoft said.

Holger Mueller, a principal analyst at Constellation Research, said it was good to see Microsoft address the Windows 10 user experience, which hasn't changed since 2015. He praised the notifications and Alt-Tab changes, saying they would allow for smoother workflow and multi-tasking.

"Now, we have to see if the [build] rollout is successful, and what will make it to the mainstream user," he said.

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