How to Restore Backup Files From External Hard Drive on Windows 10 computers

How to restore backup files from external hard drive on Windows 10 and other Windows OS? This passage will share 2 methods to help you restore files from external hard drives.


By Irene / Updated on May 6, 2024

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Do you like to keep your precious memories and important data safe by using an external hard drive for backup? Just like many other computer users, you're probably saying a resounding YES. However, this plan doesn't always guarantee safety.

Accidental deletions, formatting, file system corruption, or hardware/software problems can occur with your external hard drives, resulting in varying degrees of data loss. But upset not! Today, we're here to help you tackle this frustrating issue with guidance on how to restore backup files from external hard drive on Windows computers.

2 ways on how to restore backup files from external hard drive on Windows 10

Windows 10 is the most widely used Windows OS, so, here we take it as an example to guide you restore lost files on hard drive. If you use other Windows OS but need to restore the backed-up files, you can go directly to the second method.

Way 1. Use Windows File Recovery to restore files from external hard drive

Microsoft has developed a useful tool called Windows File Recovery. It's like a helpful friend for your deleted photos – it can bring them back from SSDs, HDDs, SD cards, and USB drives. This tool is flexible and works with different types of file systems, including NTFS, exFAT, FAT, and more.

To use this handy tool, just make sure your Windows OS is version Windows 10 20H1 Build 19041 or newer. If it is, you're all set! Follow these steps to rescue your precious photos that you thought were gone for good.

Note: Kindly please notice this tool is exclusively designed for Windows 10 users. If you are other Windows OS users, you can move on to Way 2 for reference.

Step 1. Download Windows File Recovery from the Microsoft Store and install it with administrative privileges.



• Please type the command: winfr source-drive: destination-drive: [/mode] [/switches]
• Two scanning modes can be chosen: Default and Extensive. You can select according to your specific situation.

Mode File System

The Extensive mode can be further classified as two modes, Signature and Segment:
Signature mode: you can recover all lost files under the file system using file headers.
Segment mode:you can restore lost files with file record staging specifically for NTFS.
Here are some switches you can use to customize the recovery task.


•  Kindly please be careful when entering commands. Incorrect commands can result in serious data loss.

Step 2. Select the Default mode and input the command "winfr C: D: /n *.docx" to search for all DOCX files on the C drive and copy them to the D drive. Press "Y" to proceed. Please remember to replace "C:" with the source drive and "D:" with the destination drive as per your requirements.

File Recovery

Way 2. Try a broad-compatibility tool to easily restore backed up files from external hard drive

The Windows File Recovery utility can help Windows 10 users to restore backup files from external hard drives. However, as for other Windows OS users, how to restore files from external hard drives?

AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional can be a standout solution. As of now, it is compatible with almost all Windows versions, including Windows 11/10/8.1/8/7/Vista/XP, and will continue to update for new Windows OS releases. That means, if you upgrade to a higher Windows OS in the further, it can still be helpful. Besides, its user-friendly interface allows users to avoid complex commands and easily restore lost data. Within this versatile software, you can also reap the benefits of these key features:

Other key features of AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional:
Comprehensive external disk support: It offers compatibility with diverse brands and models. Whether you have a SATA, NVMe, M.2 SSD, or another HDD brand, this software has you covered.
Advanced data recovery expertise: Using smart algorithms, it recovers files from external hard drives, even in challenging scenarios like TRIM-enabled drives and wear-leveling algorithms. It scans the external hard disk, identifies recoverable data, and restores your files successfully.
Versatile features: Beyond Data Recovery, this tool provides extensive disk management capabilities. You can relocate applications to different drives, erase data from hard disks, clone entire disks, migrate your OS to another drive, and more. With its diverse functionalities, the software fully addresses your disk problems.

Free Download Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
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Step 1. Install and perform the software. Hit "Recover" and then choose "Recover Data".


Step 2. Select the drive where the files were saved and click "Start Scan."


Step 3. Once the scan is completed, all deleted files and other missing files will be displayed. Please select the file you need to restore and then click "Recover".


Step 4. Choose a path to save the files.


Step 5. When the recovery is finished, click "OK" to exit the window.



Today we discuss how to restore backup files from external hard drive Windows 10, if you need to recover lost files in other Windows OS, AOMEI Partition Assistant is an ideal choice. By the way, if you're a Windows Server user, there's also a Server Edition available for you.

Irene · Staff Editor
Irene is an Editor of AOMEI Technology. She devotes herself in giving insightful thoughts on common computer problems with simple and clear guidance. Irene loves to help people solve problems and explore more solutions on relevant issues. She loves reading, singing and travelling.