Use Your Computer From Anywhere A Guide to Remote Controlling Your PC

Your home computer is the perfect machine. It's customized to your exact needs, runs all your must-have apps, and holds every important file you'd ever need to access. The catch: It's not exactly practical to lug a computer with you everywhere you go. That's where remote access comes in. Here are three dead-simple ways to control your home computer from anywhere—your laptop, phone, or even a friend's computer as though you were sitting directly in front of it.

We've talked about remote access countless times before, but if you're just starting out with the subject, it can be pretty overwhelming. You have a ton of different programs to choose from, some of which only work on certain platforms, and each of which has their own strengths depending on what you're trying to accomplish. Here, we'll share our favorite remote access methods for different situations, as well as alternatives you can try if our favorite doesn't work for you.

We've listed the cross platform options below for everyone, but there are also Windows-only and Mac-only programs for people that use the same OS on all their machines. Click your preference below to add its instructions to the guide.

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Note: NTFS has better recoverability than FAT.

In layman’s terms, when you delete a file from your machine, it is not removed instantaneously from the drive. Instead, the bit pointing to its (file’s) location on the storage drive is erased, which makes it unreadable to the operating system. As a result, since the operating system cannot locate this file, it treats the file’s storage location as unused until some new data overwrites the space on the drive.

What this means is that, unless the space — recently marked as ‘free’ or ‘unused’ — is overwritten with new data, the deleted files can be recovered in that small time window. So the best way to increase your chances of recovering deleted files is to ensure you do not add new files or install new programs on your computer.

What Devices and Formats Can WFR Recover?
Windows File Recovery helps in recovering deleted or corrupted files from HDD, SDD (non-TRIM), thumb drive, and memory cards. It supports NTFS, FAT, exFAT, and ReFS file systems, and can recover JPEG, PDF, PNG, MPEG, Office files, MP3 & MP4, and ZIP files.

How to Use Windows File Recovery to Recover Lost Data
Depending on the kind of file and storage type, there are a few different ways to recover files using WFR.

Installing Windows File Recovery
1. Go to Microsoft Store on your computer, search for ‘Windows File Recovery’, and download the tool. Alternatively, click on this link to download it on your computer.

2. Once installed, run the tool as administrator. To do this, hit the Windows key and search for ‘Windows File Recovery’. When the tool appears in the result, right-click on it and select Run as administrator.

Windows File Recovery

Using Windows File Recovery
With WFR running, enter the recovery command using the following syntax:winfr source-drive: destination-drive: [/switches]

Here,

i. Source-drive specifies the source of the lost file

ii. Destination-drive specifies the drive where you want to store the recovered files

iii. Switches specify arguments to better target a file or folder

WFR command syntax

Now, depending on the type of file you want to recover, Windows File Recovery offers two modes of operation, namely:

i. Regular – ideal for recovering recently deleted files in the NTFS file system.

ii. Extensive – ideal for recovering NTFS-stored files that are deleted a while ago, or after formatting a disk, or after a disk goes corrupt. It can also be used with FAT and exFAT files in any circumstances.

The previous version of Windows File Recovery offered three modes for recovering deleted files: Default, Segment, and Signature. So if you already had WFR on your computer, make sure you update it to the latest version.

To avoid confusion around file systems and help you determine the one used on the storage medium you mean to recover, here’s what you need to know –

i. NTFS – Used on most storage devices like HDD, SSD, along with thumb drives with more than 4GB storage.

ii. FAT and exFAT – Used primarily by memory cards and thumb drives with less than 4GB storage.

iii. ReFS – Used on Windows Server and Workstations.

Note: Compared to an HDD, the success rate of recovering data from an SSD is fairly low, mainly because of data complexity and TRIM functionality.

For an even detailed look at the different switches and the supported modes, refer to Microsoft’s official blog on WFR.

Windows File Recovery Command Variations
Moving right along, let’s now look at different variations of commands and how you can use them to recover different files. As mentioned earlier, the default syntax accepted on WFR requires you to mention four things: winfr, source drive, destination drive, and switches, where the source drive and destination drive need to be different.

For example: winfr C: D: /n \testfolder\testfile\

WFR recovery syntax

With the above command, we are asking the tool to recover a file named ‘testfile’ located in the ‘testfolder’ folder on the ‘C’ drive and put it on the ‘D’ drive.

Recovering a Specific File
If you want to recover a specific file that you deleted from your computer, here’s the command to filter it out and recover:winfr C: D: /n \Users\smol\Documents\testfolder\testfile.Txt

Recovering Multiple Similar File Types
If you need to recover multiple files of the same (file) type, say .JPG, here’s how to do it:winfr C: D: /n \Users\smol\Documents\testfolder\*.JPG

Recovering an Entire Folder
If you want to recover an entire folder that you deleted accidentally, WFR lets you do that as well. Here’s the syntax you need to use:winfr C: D: /n \Users\smol\Documents\testfolder\

To learn more advanced commands, run:winfr /? Or winfr/
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