How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

In Windows 11, you can restore files from a backup created with Backup and Restore or File History.

Restore files with File History

Connect the external storage device that contains your backup files.

In the search box on the taskbar, type Control Panel, then select it from the list of results.

In the search box in Control Panel, type File History. Select Save backup copies of your files with File History from the list of results.

Follow the instructions to restore your files.

Restore files with Backup and Restore

Connect the external storage device that contains your backup files.

In the search box on the taskbar, type Control Panel.

Select it from the list of results, then select Backup and Restore (Windows 7).

Select another backup to restore files from, select the location of your external storage device, and follow the instructions to restore your files.

Back up your PC with File History

Use File History to back up to an external drive or network location. Select Start​ > Settings > Update & Security > Backup > Add a drive , and then choose an external drive or network location for your backups.

How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

Restore your files with File History

If you’re missing an important file or folder that you’ve backed up, here’s how to get it back:

In the search box on the taskbar, type restore files, and then select Restore your files with File History.

Look for the file you need, then use the arrows to see all its versions.

When you find the version you want, select Restore to save it in its original location. To save it in a different place, right-click Restore, select Restore to, and then choose a new location.

Find your backups created on previous versions of Windows

If you used Backup and Restore to back up files or create system image backups in previous versions of Windows, your old backup is still available in Windows 10. In the search box on the taskbar, type control panel. Then select Control Panel > System and Security > Backup and Restore (Windows 7).

Before you start using File History to back up your files, you need to first select where your backups are saved. You can select an externally connected drive, such as a USB drive, or you can save to a drive on a network. There are other choices, but these two provide the best options to help protect your files against a crash or other PC problems.

File History only backs up copies of files that are in the Documents, Music, Pictures, Videos, and Desktop folders and the OneDrive files available offline on your PC. If you have files or folders elsewhere that you want backed up, you can add them to one of these folders.

If you’re going to use a new external drive, connect it to your PC. If you see a notification asking if you want to configure the drive for File History, select it, and then turn on File History on the screen the appears.

Otherwise, follow these steps to choose either a network drive or an external drive that’s already connected to your PC.

Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Search. (If you’re using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up, and then click Search.)

Enter File History settings in the search box, and then select File History settings.

Select Select a drive, and choose the network or external drive you want to use.

Turn on File History.

Note: If the network drive you want isn’t in the list of available drives, select Show all network locations. If the drive you want isn’t listed there either, open File History in Control Panel, select Add a network location, and follow the instructions on the screen.

Restore files or folders using File History

File History regularly backs up versions of your files in the Documents, Music, Pictures, Videos, and Desktop folders and the OneDrive files available offline on your PC. Over time, you’ll have a complete history of your files. If the originals are lost, damaged, or deleted, you can restore them. You can also browse and restore different versions of your files. For example, if you want to restore an older version of a file (even if it wasn’t deleted or lost), you can browse through a timeline, select the version you want, and restore it.

Follow these steps to restore files or folders using File History.

Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Search (or if you’re using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and then click Search), enter restore your files in the search box, and then select Restore your files with File History.

Enter the name of file you’re looking for in the search box, or use the left and right arrows to browse through different versions of your folders and files.

Select what you want to restore to its original location, and then select the Restore button.

If you want to restore your files to a different location than the original, press and hold or right-click the Restore button, select Restore To, and then choose a new location.

2. In the Start menu or Windows search bar, type “File History” and select the “File History Settings” option.
How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

3. In the left pane, click “Select drive” to bring up available storage spaces.
How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

4. Select the external drive you connected in the first step and click “OK.” If a dialog box pops up, select “No.”
How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

5. Click “Turn On.” If File History is already on, skip this step.
How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

6. To back up files now, click “Run Now.” This will do a backup now, regardless of the hourly schedule.

  • We reccomend that you use this feature when all other applications are closed so all files can be backed up, including Outlook.pst files.

How to restore files

1. Plug in your external hard drive.

2. In the Start menu or Windows search bar, type “File History” and select the “File History Settings” option.
How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

3. In the left pane, click “Restore personal files.”
How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

4. Click the left and right navigation buttons at the bottom of the window to select a backup to restore files from. You can see the time and date of the backup and look into the folders from here.

5. Click the green button at the bottom of the window to start the restoration process.
How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

6. You may be prompted if you have copies of the backed up files aready on your computer. You’ll have the option to overwrite the files on the hard drive, skip the files, or decide for each individual file.

Restoring files onto a new computer or after your computer has been reimaged

1. Plug in your external hard drive.

2. In the Start menu or Windows search bar, type “File History” and select the “File History Settings” option.
How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

3. In the left pane, click “Select drive” to bring up available storage spaces.
How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

4. Select the external with your backups on it.
How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

5. Check “I want to use a previous backup on this File History drive.

6. Select the appropriate backup.

7. Select “Yes” on the pop-up window.
How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

Extra Features

Excluding Folders from Backup

1. Plug in your external hard drive.

2. In the Start menu or Windows search bar, type “File History” and select the “File History Settings” option.
How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

3. In the left pane, select “Exclude folders.”
How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

4. Click “Add” and browse to a folder to exclude.
How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

5. Click “Select Folder.”

Advanced Settings

1. Plug in your external hard drive.

2. In the Start menu or Windows search bar, type “File History” and select the “File History Settings” option.
How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

3. In the left pane, select “Advances settings.”

4. Use the drop-down menus to change defaults, clean up old backups, and change other options from here.

Backup and restore important files with Windows File History

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Since Windows 7, Microsoft has offered a convenient way to back up your data to an external drive connected to your PC. If you know how to use File History, you can quickly recover deleted documents, photos, music, and more. It’s even possible to restore a file to how it looked at a specific point in time.

Instructions in this article apply to computers running Windows 10, Windows 8, and Windows 7.

What Does Windows File History Do?

File History doesn’t do a complete backup of your PC including system files. Instead, it watches the data in your user accounts, such as your documents, photos, and video folders. When you save changes to a document, for example, File History updates the file on your external drive. You can choose how often File History checks for modifications as well as how long it holds on to data.

How to Use Windows File History

To start backing up your Windows files with the File History tool:

Make sure you have an external hard drive connected to your PC.

A drive with at least 500GB is recommended so that you can keep several backups of your files and access multiple past versions of items that change frequently.

Open your Windows Settings and select Update & Security.

Select Backup on the left navigation panel, then select Add a drive under Backup using File History.

Choose the drive you want to use for backup.

If all you want to do is create a backup solution and never think about it again, then you’re done. Just keep your external drive connected to your PC, or plug it in every so often, and you’ll get a backup of all your personal files. You will now see an active slider button labeled Automatically back up my files under Backup using File History.

How to Customize File History for Windows 10

To further customize what File History does:

Select More options under Backup using File History.

Choose how frequently you want File History to save a new copy of your files. The default is every hour, but you can set it to happen every 10 minutes or once a day.

Choose how long you want to keep your File History backups. The default setting is to keep them forever, but if you want to save space in your external hard drive, you can have your backups deleted every month, every two years, or when space is needed to make room for new backups.

Scroll down further to see a list of all the folders File History backs up. If you want to remove any of these folders, click on them once.

To add a folder, select Add a folder below Backup these folders.

If you ever want to stop using File History, scroll down to the very bottom of the backup options screen and select Stop using drive under Backup to a different drive.

How to Restore Files With File History

To restore files, enter Restore your files in the Windows search box and select Restore your files with File History. When you select the file you want, you can scroll through a timeline to choose which version of the file to restore.

How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

Windows 10’s File History is an easy way to get started with backing up your personal files since it comes built-in to your system.

File History takes snapshots of your files as you go and stores them on an external hard drive either connected over USB or your home network. Over time, File History builds up a library of past versions of your documents that you can recover if need be. Say, for example, you really liked a paragraph from the first draft of an essay, but you deleted it long ago and are now battling regret. You can dip into File History, retrieve the right version of your document, and copy the paragraph.

Windows 10’s File History is an essential part of any PC backup strategy, but it’s only

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How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

one part. Ideally, you’d have your files in three places: the working copy on your internal hard drive, a local backup that you can access straight away, and a remote backup that keeps your files safe offsite. That way, if anything ever happens to your house such as a fire, flood, or tornado, the third copy is still safely tucked away in the remote location.

The easiest way to take care of the remote backup is to use an online backup service. We’ve got a separate article dedicated to reviews and purchasing advice for online backup. While you’re at it, check out our look at the best external drives for backup, storage, and portability to get a quality drive for your local File History backups.

To get started with File History in the latest version of Windows 10, open the Settings app and go to Update & Security > Backup.

File History before it’s activated in Windows 10.

Once you’re there, hook up your external hard drive to Windows and then in the Settings app click the “+” next to Add a drive. You’ll see a prompt to choose an external drive, choose the one you want, and that’s it. File History is now archiving your data. An on/off slider will now appear under a new heading called “Automatically back up my files.”

Click on More options to change File History’s defaults.

By default, Windows 10’s File History will back up all the folders in your User folder, back up your files every hour (as long as the backup drive is available), and keep past copies of your files forever. To change any of those settings click on More options under the on/off slider.

File History via the Settings app makes it easy to remove folders from your backup list.

The next screen you’re taken to is called Backup options. Right at the top is an option to start a manual backup, and below that are drop-down menus to adjust how often you’d like to run your backup with choices ranging from every 10 minutes to once a day. If your backup drive is low on space, you can avoid having File History bug you by clicking on the drop-down menu under Keep my backups and select Until space is needed.

To add a folder to your backup, click the “+” under Back up these folders. To remove a folder, scroll down to find it, click on it to highlight, and then click Remove.

Towards the bottom of this screen (not pictured) you can also create a list of folders to specifically exclude, or stop backing up to the currently selected drive and choose another one—you can only have one designated backup drive at a time.

Once File History is enabled, there’s a handy trick to access older versions of a file: Right-click on a file in File Explorer, and then select Restore previous versions. This is the same as right-clicking the file and going to the Properties > Previous Versions window.

Windows 10 is full of nifty little features like this. For more tips, check out our list of the best tricks, tips and tweaks for Windows 10.

In an earlier post titled Backing up your files – a vital step to securing your data, I outlined the basic information needed for any user to begin the process of backing up data on a regular basis. In this post, I will step you through how to back up data using File History options available in Microsoft Windows 10.

Back up using File History

To back up your files using File History in Windows 10, follow these steps:

  1. Click on the Start button and then select the Settings button
  1. Select the Update & Security icon
  2. From the side menu bar select Backup

How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

  1. Under the Back up using File History heading, select Add a drive (Make sure your external drive is plugged into your computer)
  2. Windows will search for your external drive and you should see the drive in a list, select it
  3. You will now see an On/Off button beneath Automatically back up my files
  4. If the button is blue then this feature is enabled, to disable, click the button once

How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

  1. Now click the More Options link
  2. On the left side of the screen, you will see a summary of the backup information
  3. From the Back up my files drop-down, select the time interval you would like to backup. By default, you will see options ranging from every 10 minutes to daily

How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

  1. You can now specify how long you would like each back up kept for, use the drop-down to select your preference
  2. Under the Back up these folders heading, ensure that Windows has included the important folders you require. To remove a folder, click it once and select the Remove button. If a folder is missing from the list, click Add a folder and select the folder you wish to add

How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

  1. Click the Back arrow in the top left corner of the window to return to the Backup window
  2. Your files will now begin to be backed up as selected
  3. Allow your computer to complete the backup process, do not disconnect the hard drive from your computer
  4. When the backup has completed, you will see a window advising that the backup has completed successfully
  5. Click Close

Be sure to check back with my post: Backing up your files – a vital step to securing your data to identify other methods you can use to back up your data.

How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

Windows 11 provides users with several backup options, including File History, the main backup tool. The file history option of Windows allows you to restore previous versions of files.

Yes, Windows 11 also includes an option to upload files to cloud storage via OneDrive, but it’s limited to only 5GB of storage free storage space.

Another option to backup Windows 11 files is by using third-party backup & restore apps. Compared to third-party backup apps, the File History of Windows 11 is easier to set up and use.

Once you have configured Windows 11’s File History, you need to connect your USB drive to your computer, and Windows 11 will automatically backup the file to that drive. You can even schedule a backup feature to run on a schedule.

Steps to Use Windows’s File History To Back Up Your Windows 11 Data

So, if you are interested in enabling and using Windows’ File History to backup your data, you are reading the right guide. This article will share a step-by-step guide on using Windows File History to back up your data.

1. First of all, click on the Windows 11 Start and type in Control Panel. Then, open Control Panel from the list.

How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

2. On the Control Panel, click on the System and Security option as shown below.

How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

3. On the next page, select the File History option.

How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

4. Now connect an external drive and refresh the Window. Next, click on the Advanced Settings on the left sidebar.

How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

5. You need to set a schedule to run the File History on the next screen. The default is Every Hour; you can change the time frame from the drop-down menu.

How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

6. Next, select the dropdown for Keep saved versions and change it as per your preference.

How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

7. If you want to exclude any folder, click on the Exclude folders option and add the folder you don’t want to backup.

How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

8. Now, you need to return back to the main File History screen and click on the Turn on Button to enable the feature.

How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

9. To disable the File History, click on the Turn off button as shown below.

How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

Important: The File History will only back up files from Libraries, Contacts, Desktop, and Favorites folders.

Setting up File History on Windows 11 is pretty straightforward. You can rely on this feature to backup your Windows 11 to an external drive. I hope this article helped you! Please share it with your friends also. If you have any doubts related to this, let us know in the comment box below.

Navigate to Update & Security > Backup. Click or tap the “Add a drive” option under Back up using File History to add an external drive that File History will back up to. It’ll list external drives and give you the option to back up to them. … Select a drive, and Windows will use it for File History.

How does File History backup work?

File History takes snapshots of your files as you go and stores them on an external hard drive either connected over USB or your home network. Over time, File History builds up a library of past versions of your documents that you can recover if need be.

What does Windows 10 backup actually backup?

A full backup using this tool means that Windows 10 will make a copy of everything on your computer, including installation files, settings, apps, and all your files stored in the primary drive, as well as those files stored in different locations.

What is the difference between file history and backup in Windows 10?

File History is a Windows feature that is designed to back up your data files. In contrast, a system image backup will back up the entire operating system, including any applications that might be installed.

What is Windows File History backup?

It is an application that continuously backs up the files in your Libraries, on your desktop, in your Favorites folders, and in your Contacts folders. … It defaults to doing this on an hourly basis as long as the File History device, typically an external hard drive, is attached.

Is file history a good backup?

Introduced with the release of Windows 8, File History became the primary backup tool for the operating system. And, even though Backup and Restore is available in Windows 10, File History is still the utility Microsoft recommends for backing up files.

Does File History backup everything?

File History automatically backs up your files every hour by default, but you can select a different time here. … By default, File History will be set to back up back up important folders in your user account’s home folder. This includes the Desktop, Documents, Downloads, Music, Pictures, Videos folders.

Does Windows 10 have built in backup software?

Windows 10’s primary backup feature is called File History. … Backup and Restore is still available in Windows 10 even though it’s a legacy function. You can use one or both of these features to back up your machine. Of course, you still need offsite backup, either an online backup or a remote backup to another computer.

What is the best way to backup a Windows 10 computer?

Use File History to back up to an external drive or network location. Select Start​ > Settings > Update & Security > Backup > Add a drive , and then choose an external drive or network location for your backups.

How do I backup my entire computer?

To get started: If you’re using Windows, you’ll use File History. You can find it in the system settings of your PC by searching for it in the taskbar. Once you’re in the menu, click “Add a Drive” and pick your external hard drive. Follow the prompts and your PC will back up every hour — simple.

Should I use File History Windows 10?

Windows 10 File history should be used as a great resource to quickly recover files, but it should not be used as a backup replacement. Click here to learn more about Windows’ built in Back-up software.

Should I use File History or Windows Backup?

If you just want to backup files in your user folder, File History is the best choice. If you want to protect the system along with your files, Windows Backup will help you make it. Additionally, if you intend to save backups on internal disks, you can only choose Windows Backup.

Is Windows 10 file history reliable?

File History is okay if you occasionally need to recover some deleted or overwritten files. It is problematic when you need to restore files to a different computer though – requires quite a bit of hacking to work.

How do I know if File History is working?

If you really want to get into the workings of File History, you can open its Event Viewer, which shows all the minute and specific details of what the feature has been doing on the computer.

How do I recover deleted files on Windows 10?

To Recover Deleted Files on Windows 10 for free:

  1. Open the Start menu.
  2. Type “restore files” and hit Enter on your keyboard.
  3. Look for the folder where you deleted files were stored.
  4. Select the “Restore” button in the middle to undelete Windows 10 files to their original location.

Can I delete the file history folder?

Every time any of your personal files has changed, its copy will be stored on a dedicated, external storage device selected by you. Over time, File History builds a complete history of changes made to any personal file. However, it is a personal choice to delete it.

How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

With the Windows 10 File History feature, you can back up copies of files and folders to secure locations in the case they are deleted by accident.

By default, the File History feature will back up the files that are in the Documents, Music, Pictures, Videos, Desktop folders, but you can manually add custom folders as well.

You can configure File History feature with both fixed or primary disk and external drive. Microsoft recommends you select an externally connected drive such as a USB drive to save your backups for additional security.

Microsoft says there are other choices as well, including the option to save your data to a drive on a network.

How to setup File History on Windows 10

To get started with File History in the latest version of Windows 10, use these steps:

    Open the Settings app and go to Update & Security > Backup.

How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

Once selected, File History will begin archiving your data. If you want to turn it off, use the on/off toggle which should appear under “Automatically back up my files” in the same page.

Below “Automatically back up my files”, click on “More options” and you can now configure the Backup options. You can use the drop-down menus to change the frequency of the backups.

How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

Backing up custom folders with File History

By default, Windows 10’s File History is configured to save the default data folders under the user’s %UserProfile% folder at C:\users\[user]. Windows allows you to add folders of your own choice and start saving the content included in the folders.

If you want to add a custom folder, even one from a different drive than C: you can add it using these steps:

    In Settings > Update & Security > Backup, click on ‘More options’,

How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

For example, if our test we added the E:\outlook folder to be backed up using File History. As shown in the screenshot below, once the folder is selected, it will now be added to the list of folders that are backed up.

How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

If you want to use an external drive, connect it to your PC and select the option to configure the drive for File History from the notifications toast. Or go back to the Settings and choose the new drive instead.

Restore files or folders using File History

When backing up files with File History, Windows 10 will store different versions of the files as they arebacked up.

In the even that a file is lost, damaged, or deleted, this allows you to restore the file you need from a specific backup date.

To restore a file with File History, you should follow these steps:

    Open File Explorer and navigate to the folder whose files you want to restore.

At the top of the File Explorer screen, under the Home tab, is a button named ‘History’ as shown below.

History button in File Explorer

If you have backed up this folder on multiple dates, then you will be able to switch to the different dates to find the specific file you want to restore.

How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

Restore files from File History
File History restore button

Note, that you can also restore an entire folder at once, by navigating to the folder above it and selecting and restoring a folder rather than a file.

To use File History to make secure backups on Windows 10, follow these steps:

1. Go to Settings > Update & Security > Backup
2. Choose the plus sign (+) next to Add a drive
3. Choose the external or network drive
4. Choose Backup Now

On Windows 10, the File History feature allows you to back up copies of files and folders to secure locations in the case you delete something by accident. By default, the File History feature will back up the files that are in the Music, Pictures, Documents, Downloads, and Videos folders, but you can also manually remove those default folders and add custom folders.

For the most secure experience, Microsoft suggests that you use an externally connected drive, like a USB drive, or use a network drive to backup your files. There are other options of saving backups, but these two are the most secure and provide the best options to protect your files from unforeseen PC issues. It is important to point out that your PC has BitLocker Drive Encryption, but your File History drive does not.

File History Backup

In order to get started using File History on Windows 10, use these steps:

1. Go to Settings > Update & Security > Backup
2. Choose + next to Add a drive
How to use windows’ file history to back up your data
3. Click the external drive or the network drive
How to use windows’ file history to back up your data
4. Once you choose the external drive or network drive, File History will begin backing up your data. If you want to turn off the data backup at any time, turn the toggle Automatically backup my files to off.
5. Choose More options under the toggle to see what folders File History is backing up on your PC.
How to use windows’ file history to back up your data
6. Choose Back up now to start backing up your files to your selected drive.
How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

Once you choose the external drive or network drive, File History will begin backing up your data. If you want to turn off the data backup, click Cancel to turn off the backup.

Congratulations, you have created your first backup! In the future, if your PC experiences a catastrophic event and you have to start from scratch, you will have a way to restore your most pertinent files. After your files finish backing up, you can use the dropdown menus to change the frequency of new backups that are saved and the length of time you want to keep your backups on Windows 10.

Add a custom folder to Backup

By default, File History is configured to save the folders that are located under the user’s %UserProfile% folder at “C:users[user].” If you want to add custom folders to your backup, you need to indicate which additional folders you want to save.

If you want to add a custom folder, follow these steps.

How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

1. Go to Settings > Update & Security > Backup and choose More options

2. Choose Add a folder under Back up these folders
3. Add your custom folder

Once added, your custom folder will be saved and added to your next backup. Keep changes you make to your files in mind when backing up files in Files History because Windows 10 will backup and store different versions of the same files.

Restore files or folders using File Explorer

In the event that one of your folders or files gets damaged or inadvertently deleted, you can use File History to restore the file or folder you need from a specific backup date. If you need to restore a file using File History, follow these steps:

How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

1. Open File Explorer and go to the folder whose files you want to restore. At the top of the windows, under the Home tab in File Explorer, there is a History menu option as shown below.

2. Choose History and the File History screen will pop up showing your the most current backup of this folder. If you have backed up this folder on multiple dates, you can switch between the different dates too.

How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

3. Choose the file you want to restore and click on the green restore button to restore the file to original location as indicated.

It is important to note that you can also choose to open File History by going to Settings > Update & Security > Backup and choose More options. At the bottom of the page, choose Restore files from a current backup to open the File History page and repeat steps #2 and #3.

How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

You are also not limited to just individual files, you can also restore whole folders if necessary. If you want to backup to another different drive, or create a different backup, you need to click Stop using drive. This will stop the current backup and you can now save a new backup to a new USB or network drive.

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26 Jan 2020

Windows 10 File History – backup your files!

Your documents, pictures, videos and other personal files are the most valuable thing you have on your computer. What if those files were destroyed? Perhaps your laptop’s disk drive will die or you accidentally delete (and empty your recycle bin) an important file?

You need to backup your data. But that’s boring right? You are tired, you don’t want to continually mess around with complicated backup procedures? You don’t need to!

Windows 10 has a great feature called File History. Periodically (you decide when) it copies your files to another drive. Best of all, it keeps versions of files. For example, update a file on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Later you realise that the change you made on Wednesday was a mistake. With File History you can restore the file from Monday or Tuesday. Because File History works in such a seamless and simple fashion, I recommend it.

File History is what I term a “file backup” tool. You shouldn’t only have this backup, you should have other methods of backing up too if you want comprehensive protection against data loss. Please click here for more information.

File History Setup
Follow these steps just once per drive to set it up.

Plug-in a USB flash drive or other removable drive. I would recommend 16GB or more, so you have plenty of space available. Make sure the drive is blank, it would be a good idea to format it. You can format to FAT32 or NTFS, either will work.

NOTE: I have set up File History to use a Micro-SD card in my laptop. If you are thinking of doing this it is important to get the right Micro-SD card. Please click here for more information.

In the Windows search box enter “file history

Click Restore your files with File History

If it’s the first time you are using File History you’ll see the following (or similar):

Click Configure File History

It’ll search for a drive to use as the destination. It should see your USB drive – in the example below my USB flash drive is named HISTORY:

NOTE: If it doesn’t select the correct drive or you have multiple, on far left click Select drive.

Click Turn on

Click Advanced settings (on the far left)

By default File History will back up your files every hour. You can change this to be more frequent if you wish.

Change the ‘Keep saved versions’ to Until space is needed

Multiple versions of files are backed up, when ‘Until space is needed’ is set, when the USB removable drive is full File History will automatically reclaim space by deleting the oldest backed up versions.

  • It’s easy to scroll back and forth through history to find your files by date.
  • Select a file to restore, click the green button – it will restore the file to its original location.
  • If you want to restore it elsewhere, right click on the green button and click Restore to, a Save As dialogue box will appear, you can select anywhere on your computer to save the restored file.

Considerations
File History will run automatically, there is little to manage. However, remember that when you remove the USB drive the backup will not work. File History works best when you leave the USB drive connected all the time. At the same time, if someone steals your laptop then your backup will be stolen with it. You can remove the USB drive. You can use two USB drives with File History and change them periodically. Keep one in a safe place perhaps. It’s also worth considering using File History together with another backup solution, please see here for more help for this.

If you have large amounts of data then it is important to buy a large capacity USB drive. If your laptop has a specific USB 3 port, make sure the USB drive you buy works at USB 3 speed and use that port. Buy a large capacity USB drive to be sure you have enough space for all your backups and versions of files.

Encryption
By default File History will backup files without encryption. If you browse your USB drive you’ll find all your files there, you can copy and paste them from the drive if you wish. This is an advantage in that you can very easily recover your files. However, it is a disadvantage if someone steals the USB drive. They will have access to your files!

If you are using Windows Home there’s nothing you can do. Windows Home does not have BitLocker and therefore it cannot encrypt the USB drive.

If you are using Windows Professional you have the option to encrypt (password protect) your USB drive. Search for “bitlocker”. It works with File History (both are built-in features of Windows 10).

Disclaimer
I’ve posted this article to help, it’s just my opinion. I take no responsibility for any of your backups or your loss of data. I’m just trying to help out here by explaining this feature.

File History is a file backup tool built in Windows 10, which can automatically and quickly back up personal files from the computer to an external drive. This is much more convenient than manual copy or transfer, especially if you have large number of files to back up.

However, File History is turned off by default, so you need to turn it on before it backs up files for you. In this article, we will show you how to turn on File History on Windows 10 to back up data. There are two options for you to choose from.

Option 1: Turn on File History in Settings to back up data

Step 1: Turn on File History in Settings.

1. First, Connect the external drive to which you want File History to back your data to the computer.

2. Go to Settings > Update & Security > Backup, and then click Add a drive under the Back up using File History section. When the connected external drive appears in the list, select it and File History will turn on automatically.

How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

Step 2: Configure File History settings.

By default, File History automatically backs up your files every hour. And the files to be backed up include only the files in the Windows default folder, such as the Desktop, Pictures, Documents, Downloads, Videos, etc. If you want File History to back up your other files, or you want to change how often it back up files, just configure it as follows.

1. Click More options under the Back up using File History section in Settings.

How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

2. The Backup options panel opens. From here, you can select how often File History backs up your files, and how long to save the backup versions,.

How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

3. In addition, you can click Add a folder under Back up these folders to add more folders you want File History to back up.

How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

4. You can also remove the folders you don’t hope to back up by clicking Add a folder under the Exclude these folders section.

How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

Option 2: Turn on File History in Control Panel to back up data

Step 1: Turn on File History in Control Panel.

1. Go to Control Panel > System and Security > File History.

2. Connect the external drive to which you want File History to back up your files to your computer. File History will automatically detect the connected external drive, and then you can click Turn on to turn on File History.

How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

If you want to use a network location as the File History drive, click Select drive and on the next page, click Add network location to add your network drive.

How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

3. If you want File History to back up your files right now, just click Run now. If you want to configure File History settings, continue with the Step 2 below.

How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

Step 2: Configure File History settings.

1. To configure how often File History automatically backs up files, click Advanced settings on the left and select your wanted options on the next page.

How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

2. If you don’t want to back up specific folders or libraries, click Exclude folders on the left so that you can exclude unwanted folders from File History.

How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

That’s it. Now if you want to learn how to restore files using File History, click the link to see how.

How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

This feature originally introduced in Windows 8 has become Windows 10’s main backup tool. The name may be misleading, making one think it is a tool for restoring previous versions of files, but it is actually a fully functional backup tool. Automatically backing up your files to an external drive is easy after File History has been set up.

What Is File History?

File History is a tool introduced in Windows 8.1 and available also in Windows 10. Its purpose is for simple and automated data backups. This tool works with a number of devices in backing up your data. Other than its ease in setting up, it has an ability to store multiple versions of your files and allows for recovery in any desired backup.

Enabling File History

First, connect an external drive to your computer, and then under your Startup menu open Settings and navigate to “Update & Security -> Backup.”

Under “Back up using File History,” click on the “Add a drive” option. Doing this lists all the possible external drives and allows you to choose to back up to them.

How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

From the list select a drive you want to use for File History. Once this is selected, the “Automatically back up my files” option appears and is automatically turned on. This setting implies that Windows will automatically back up your files to the drive whenever it is connected to your PC.

How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

The next step will be to configure your file history settings.

Configuring File History Settings

By default, File History will perform backups every hour. This, however, can be customized. To do this, select “more options” and “See Advanced Settings.” Additionally, you can customize how long it keeps backup copies and which files are backed up.

How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

After more options have been selected, you can select the frequency of backups from the “Back up my files” dropdown list. Also, from the “keep my backups” option, you can determine how long every backup should be kept in the drive.

How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

By default, File History is configured to back up important folders in your user account’s home folder. This includes Desktop, Documents, Downloads, Music, Pictures and Videos folders. Under the “Back up these folders” option as seen in the image above, you can select additional folders by selecting the “Add a folder” option.

Finally, after backups are done the next step will be to restore files from the backup.

Restoring Files from Backup

To perform this operation, make sure your backup drive is connected to your computer. Under settings select “Update & security,” select “Backup,” select “More options,” and at the bottom of the window select “Restore files from a current backup.”

How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

This opens your file history, and you can choose what you want to back up. Here, browse and select one or more files or folders. Right-clicking on files or folders allows you to preview them. Select the files to be restored and click the green button to restore them to your computer.

How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

File History vs. Other Backup Solutions

A first point to note is that this backup option comes with your operating system. This implies it has a seamless compatibility with your OS and makes it a very worthwhile option for backups on Windows 10.

Its working principle involves taking snapshots of your files and storing them on an external hard drive, either connected over USB or your home network. These stored files build a library of past versions of your documents and over time increase your options for recovery versions. A simple example will be trying to recover a part of an essay you deleted a long while back. With file history you can easily dive in and get the version of that essay that still had this part.

One limitation is that where other backup software may support integration with a number of cloud backup services, File history supports only One Drive. Also, the backed up data will occupy the same size on the storage medium as it did in the original copies, whereas other backup software often compresses and is more efficient with storage space.

Conclusion

It is a good practice to make regular backups for your computer. It often takes a while when you are saving a new backup to your drive, but it will be a vital asset when you have to reformat your hard disk and do a full restoration.

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How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

File History is a convenient and easy-to-use feature of Windows 10. Its automatic backup and ability to keep older versions of files makes it a great set up and forget backup option. If you aren’t familiar with File History, I recommend reading Lee Grant’s article on this very website to understand more about it.

I’m familiar with File History, so what’s the problem?

While I sing its praises, I do have two issues with File History – the first being that Microsoft hid it away in the depths of Windows 10’s settings. It may be set and forget, but it is also a sensible idea to check your backup from time to time to ensure all is working. Having to go through several layers of options to get there is frustrating.

The second niggle I have with File History is in changing the backup drive. It may not be something you often do, but if you have a faulty drive or need to increase your backup storage, you will have to go down that road – and it isn’t as straightforward as you may think.

Okay, so what do I need to do?

To replace the backup drive in File History, you need to do the following:

  • Click Start and then Settings.
  • In Windows Settings, click Update and Security.
  • Click on Backup on the left-hand menu.
  • Click on the More options link under the Heading Automatically back up my files.
  • Scroll down to the bottom of the Back-up options and click on the button Stop using drive.
  • You are now able to select another drive to use with File History. Click the back arrow in the top left of the current Window.
  • This takes you to the Backup section. If you haven’t already, attach your new drive. Once connected, under the heading Back up using File History, click on Add a drive.
  • Select your drive from the list. If there is more than one showing, make sure you select the correct drive.

One last step?

You can now use your new drive to back up. But be aware, Windows will have reset the backup options to its default settings.

If you changed your previous backup options, you will have to re-select them. These are available in the back-up options section and include:

  • How often file history will backup.
  • How long it will keep your backup history for.
  • And finally, the most important: adding any additional folders that are not already included in the default list.

It’s a wrap

File History is a great backup system. However, if you ever need to change your backup drive, it isn’t simply a case of plug in and go. You will need to tell Windows to stop using your old drive, select the new one, and re-configure any backup options you may have changed.

To keep your files safe, File History automatically makes a copy of every file in your Documents, Music, Photos, and Videos folders. It copies all the files on your desktop, as well. And File History automatically makes those copies every hour.

File History makes your backups easy to see and restore, letting you flip through different versions of your files and folders, comparing them with your current versions. Should you find a better version, a press of a button brings that older version back to life.

File History doesn’t work until you turn it on, a process I describe in Chapter 13. Please, please, flip back a few chapters and turn it on now. The earlier you turn it on, the more backups you’ll have to choose from when you need them.

Click the taskbar’s File Explorer icon (shown here) and then open the folder containing the items you’d like to retrieve.

For example, click This PC in the folder’s left pane to see your most commonly used folders, Desktop, Downloads, Documents, Music, Pictures, and Videos. Open any folder by double-clicking its name.

Click the Home tab on the Ribbon atop your folder; then click the History button.

Clicking the History button, shown here, fetches the File History program, shown in the following figure. The program looks much like a plain old folder. For example, the figure shows what happens if you click the History button in any folder and then click File History’s Home button: That button lets you see all of your backed up folders.

How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

The File History program shows you what it has backed up: your main folders, your desktop, your contacts, and your favorite websites.

Feel free to open the folders inside the File History window. You can also peek inside the files you find there to see their contents.

Choose what you’d like to restore.

Point and click your way through the libraries, folders, and files until you spot the item or items you’d like to restore:

Folder: To restore an entire folder, open it so you’re viewing its contents.

Files: To restore a group of files, open the folder containing them, so the files’ icons are onscreen.

One file: To restore an earlier version of a file, open that file from inside the File History window. File History displays that file’s contents.

When you’ve found the file or folder you want to restore, move to the next step.

Move forward or backward in time to find the version you’d like to restore.

To browse through different versions of what you’re currently viewing, choose the left-pointing arrow along the bottom, as shown here. To see a newer version, choose the right-pointing arrow.

How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

As you move forward and backward through time, feel free to click open folders or individual files, peeking inside them until you’re looking at the version that you want to retrieve.

Not sure whether a folder contains your sought-after item? Type it into the Search box in File History’s top-right corner.

Click the Restore button to restore your desired version.

Whether you’re looking at an individual file, a folder, or an entire library’s contents, clicking the Restore button places that item back in the place where it used to live.

That brings up a potential problem, however: What happens if you try to restore an older file named Notes into a place that already contains a file named Notes? Windows warns you of the problem with the window shown, which brings you to Step 6.

How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

Choose how to handle the conflict.

If Windows notices a naming conflict with the item you’re trying to restore, File History offers you three ways to handle the situation.

Replace the File in the Destination Folder. Click this option only when you’re sure that the older file is better than your current file.

Skip This File. Click this if you don’t want to restore the file or folder. This option returns you to File History, where you can browse other files.

Compare Info for Both Files. Often the best choice, this option lets you compare the files’ sizes and dates before choosing which one to keep, the incoming file or the currently existing file. Or, if you want, this choice also lets you keep both files: Windows simply adds a number after the name of the incoming file, naming it Notes (1), for example.

Exit File History by closing the window.

You close the File History window just as you close any other window: Click the X in its top-right corner.

Want to know more about File History? Read on:

In addition to backing up everything in your main folders and on your desktop, File History stores a list of your favorite websites, listed earlier in Figure 18-2 as Favorites. It also backs up the OneDrive files you’ve synced to your PC.

When buying a portable hard drive, flash drive, or memory card to create backups, don’t skimp on size. The larger the hard drive you choose, the more backups you can save. File History comes in very handy.

If you’re not backing up your computer, you should be. You never know when your hard drive will fail, your files will be accidentally deleted or, god forbid, malware will infect your machine—and you don’t want to be left empty-handed without all that precious data.

If you don’t have a backup system in place already, today’s the day you build one to run on a regular schedule. It’s pretty painless in Windows 10, and there’s really no excuse not to .

There's No Excuse for Not Backing Up Your Computer. Do It Now.

At least once a month, some friend or family member asks me how to recover data from a failed hard…

Windows 10's primary backup feature is called File History. The File History tool automatically saves multiple versions of a given file, so you can “go back in time” and restore a file before it was changed or deleted. That’s especially useful for files that change frequently, like Word documents or PowerPoint presentations.

Earlier versions of Windows had a tool called Backup and Restore, which creates a single backup of the latest version of your files on a schedule. It also takes a “system image,” or a snapshot of your entire system—operating system, programs, documents, and all—which makes it easy to restore everything if something terrible happens.

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Backup and Restore is still available in Windows 10 even though it’s a legacy function. You can use one or both of these features to back up your machine.

Of course, you still need offsite backup , either an online backup or a remote backup to another computer. However, recovering your files from a local backup will be much quicker—and, with the system image, you can get your entire computer back almost immediately to exactly the way it was before a system crash.

Why You Should Always Have More Than One Backup

Your data really isn't safe unless you're backing up properly and with lots of redundancy. The…

Without further ado, let’s get started. You’ll need an external hard drive, a NAS (network-attached storage), or another computer on your local network to serve as your backup location.

Use File History to back up specific files and folders that change often

By default, File History backs up all the folders in your user account folder (C:/Users/[accountname]). These include your desktop, documents, downloads, music, pictures, and a few other folders. Most importantly, File History monitors these folders for changes and automatically backs up any files that have been added or modified, similar to OS X’s Time Machine.

How to set up and enable File History

  1. Go to Start > Settings > Update & Security.
  2. Select Backup and click “Add a drive.”
  3. Select the drive or network location you want to use for File History’s backups.

Now click “More options.” Here you can start a backup, change when your files are backed up, select how long to keep backed up files, add or exclude a folder, or switch File History to a different drive.

Click the “Back up now” button to start your first File History backup.

One option you might want to change in the settings, depending on your preferences, is how long File History’s backups are kept:

  • The default is “Forever,” which means File History will keep making and saving backups until your drive is full. At that point, you’d have to either use a different drive or manually start a cleanup from the Control Panel (under System and Security > File History > Advanced Settings) to make space.
  • If you switch to “Until space is needed,” File History will automatically remove the oldest versions of the files it backs up when space gets low on your backup drive.
  • If you switch to one of the other timeframes, like 1 month or 2 years, File History will delete the oldest versions when files reach that time setting.

That’s all there is to it. File History will work quietly in the background going forward.

How to restore from File History backups

To restore individual files or folders or to get an old version of a file back, type “restore files” into the taskbar and click “Restore your files with File History.” You’ll be able to scroll through different versions to find the one you want to recover.

If you hit “Restore,” the file will be saved in its original location. Right-click Restore > Restore to allows you to select a different folder or location.

You can also restore previous versions of a file without having to open the File History restore tool . Right-click on the file, select Properties, and go to the Previous Versions tab.

Handy! But you have to have this feature turned on for it to be useful.

Use Backup and Restore to make complete system images

You may remember Backup and Restore from earlier versions of Windows. In Windows 10, the feature is actually called “Backup and Restore (Windows 7)“ so you’ll know it’s the older tool. Even if you have File History turned on, it’s a good idea to also use Backup and Restore to create a system image periodically on a different drive. Besides getting you quickly back up and running if something happens like a boot drive failure, you could use a system image to upgrade to a new drive and get back to work without reinstalling everything and losing your settings.

Use a different drive than the one you use for File History to add redundancy to your backup system. Remember: When it comes to backups, redundancy is king.

Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) Section 404 mandates that all publicly traded companies must establish internal controls and procedures .

The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA) is a federal law that imposes specific requirements on operators of .

The North American Electric Reliability Corporation Critical Infrastructure Protection (NERC CIP) plan is a set of standards .

Mutual authentication, also called two-way authentication, is a process or technology in which both entities in a communications .

A screened subnet, or triple-homed firewall, refers to a network architecture where a single firewall is used with three network .

Metamorphic and polymorphic malware are two types of malicious software (malware) that can change their code as they propagate .

Medical transcription (MT) is the manual processing of voice reports dictated by physicians and other healthcare professionals .

An Electronic Intensive Care Unit (eICU) is a form or model of telemedicine where state-of-the-art technology is used to provide .

Protected health information (PHI), also referred to as personal health information, is the demographic information, medical .

Risk mitigation is a strategy to prepare for and lessen the effects of threats faced by a business.

Fault-tolerant technology is a capability of a computer system, electronic system or network to deliver uninterrupted service, .

Synchronous replication is the process of copying data over a storage area network, local area network or wide area network so .

The Cloud Data Management Interface (CDMI) is an international standard that defines a functional interface that applications use.

NAND flash wear-out is the breakdown of the oxide layer within the floating gate transistors of NAND flash memory.

Write endurance is the number of program/erase (P/E) cycles that can be applied to a block of flash memory before the storage .

Windows 11 gives customers with a number of backup choices, together with File History, the principle backup software. The file historical past choice of Windows permits you to restore earlier variations of information.

Yes, Windows 11 additionally consists of an choice to add information to cloud storage by way of OneDrive, however it’s restricted to solely 5GB of storage free cupboard space.

Another choice to backup Windows 11 information is through the use of third-party backup & restore apps. Compared to third-party backup apps, the File History of Windows 11 is simpler to arrange and use.

Once you’ve got configured Windows 11’s File History, you want to join your USB drive to your pc, and Windows 11 will routinely backup the file to that drive. You may even schedule a backup characteristic to run on a schedule.

Steps to Use Windows’s File History To Back Up Your Windows 11 Data

So, if you’re keen on enabling and utilizing Windows’ File History to backup your knowledge, you’re studying the suitable information. This article will share a step-by-step information on utilizing Windows File History to again up your knowledge.

1. First of all, click on on the Windows 11 Start and kind in Control Panel. Then, open Control Panel from the record.

2. On the Control Panel, click on on the System and Security choice as proven under.

3. On the subsequent web page, choose the File History choice.

4. Now join an exterior drive and refresh the Window. Next, click on on the Advanced Settings on the left sidebar.

5. You want to set a schedule to run the File History on the subsequent display screen. The default is Every Hour; you possibly can change the time-frame from the drop-down menu.

6. Next, choose the dropdown for Keep saved variations and alter it as per your choice.

7. If you need to exclude any folder, click on on the Exclude folders choice and add the folder you don’t need to backup.

8. Now, you want to return again to the principle File History display screen and click on on the Turn on Button to allow the characteristic.

9. To disable the File History, click on on the Turn off button as proven under.

Important: The File History will solely again up information from Libraries, Contacts, Desktop, and Favorites folders.

Setting up File History on Windows 11 is fairly simple. You can depend on this characteristic to backup your Windows 11 to an exterior drive. I hope this text helped you! Please share it with your pals additionally. If you’ve got any doubts associated to this, tell us within the remark field under.

File History feature replaces Backup and Restore in previous versions of Windows and currently exists in Windows 8, 8.1, and 10. It is an application that continuously backs up data in your Libraries, on your desktop, in your Favorites folders, and in your Contacts folders. It periodically scans the file system for changes and copies changed files to another location. Every time any of your personal files has changed, its copy will be stored on a dedicated, external storage device selected by you. Over time, File History builds a complete history of changes made to any personal file.

How Can I Delete File History Folder in Windows 10/8.1/8

However, it is a personal choice to delete it. Over time, more and more File History backups are saved, and you find that you are running out of space. In this case, you can use File History Cleanup in Windows 10/8.1/8 at any time to delete File History versions of files and folders older than a selected age, except the most recent version of a file or folder.

  • Hit the Windows key and type: control panel
  • Scroll down and click “File History”
  • Click “Advanced Settings”. Full steps
  • Go to Setting > Update & Security > Backup
  • Click the button under Automatically back up my files
  • Go to the backup drive and delete the folder. Full steps

Fix 1. Delete Windows 10 File History Old Versions via Cleanup

File History itself has the “Clean up versions” option. You can delete old versions of File History backup with this option. Follow these steps below to delete Windows 10 File History’s old version.

Step 1. Hit the Windows key and type: control panel and hit “Enter” or select the result at the top to open “Control Panel”. Scroll down and click “File History”.

Step 2. Click the “Advanced Settings” link from the list on the left.

Step 3. Under the “Versions” section in Advanced Settings, click the “Clean up versions” option. You can manage how often copies of files are created and the length of time versions are saved.

How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

Step 4. choose how far back you want to delete the versions of saved files. You can select from “older than 2 years” to “older than just 1 month”. There is also the option to delete all versions except for the most recent one.

How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

You will get a progress message while the older versions are being deleted. The process is generally quick. But it will vary depending on the amount of data you’re clearing and the speed of the PC.

Fix 2. Manually Delete File History Folder in Windows 10

If you don’t want to back up files in File History, you can stop the File History backup service and delete the folder manually.

Step 1. Go to Setting > Update & Security > Backup and click the button under Automatically back up my files.

How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

Step 2. Go to the backup drive and delete the folder named FileHistory. All File History backup files are stored in a folder called “FileHistory” on the backup drive you set up. Just delete it.

Bonus Tip – Back Up Files with File History Alternative

File History selects a partition and then performs file history protection. If the function is enabled, the files operated on this partition will be recorded.

Compared with File History, EaseUS backup and recovery software can choose the desired folder, system or partition, etc. It is more flexible, and the delete strategy is more convenient. You can easily select the backup and click “Deleted”. Besides, you are suggested to use EaseUS Todo Backup, which is designed for professional backup and restore. It can automatically delete old backups to free up disk space for new backups.

How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

Many people do not have any kind of automatic backup enabled and instead rely on manual backups of their data. While manually backing up files is better than having no backup. Setting an automatic backup means you wont forget to do a backup.

Because an automatic backup is always online it does come with its own problems. If the device is infected with malware, this could spread to the backup drive. This is why it is important to have multiple backups using the 3-2-1 rule.

This 3-2-1 rule is as follows:

  • 3 copies of a file
  • 2 backups on different types of medium. i.e. on an external hard drive and a NAS
  • 1 offsite copy. i.e. in the cloud, or an external hard drive stored away from your home.

Today I will be concentrating on one type of backup. That is the built-in utility included with Windows 10 called File History.

To enable File History we need an external hard drive (a secondary internal hard drive can also be used).

File History’s default settings will save files every hour and keep versions forever – as in, files wont be removed after a set period of time. This may need to be modified to suit your needs and the amount of data stored on your device.

To configure File History first plug in an External Hard Drive. You should receive some kind of notification that a drive has been inserted. Take note of the drive name and letter. i.e. TOSHIBA EXT (F:)

Press Windows Key + i to bring up the Windows Settings App. In the search box type backup and then click on Backup settings.

How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

Click Add a drive and then select the hard drive to which you wish to backup files.

How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

Click on Back-up options and click Back up now

How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

On the Back-up options screen you are able to add additional folders to be backed up up, i.e. If you have a folder outside your User Directory.

Scrolling further down the screen you are also able to add folders you wish to excluded from the backup. This is handy if you have folders containing large amounts of data and need to split your File History backups over multiple drives.

This is just one way you can backup your data. While this will help protect against data loss from a deleted file or failed hard drive, it wont help protect against ransomware. To protect against malware it is recommended to also have an offline backup.

For other ways to protect yourself online and your data, check out our tech tips articles.

Microsoft is changing the way you back up your data by integrating its cloud-based storage and sharing service SkyDrive. In the event of a system crash, Microsoft has new features for quick and easy restoration of your computer, with minimal data loss. In addition to the new features PC Reset and PC Refresh, File History is a…

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Microsoft is changing the way you back up your data by integrating its cloud-based storage and sharing service SkyDrive. In the event of a system crash, Microsoft has new features for quick and easy restoration of your computer, with minimal data loss. In addition to the new features PC Reset and PC Refresh, File History is a great new feature in Windows 8 and will be released in Windows 8.1.

How to use windows’ file history to back up your data

What is File History?

File History is a backup application that allows for continual protection of your personal files stored in Desktop, Libraries, Favorites, and Contact folders. The new feature will periodically scan the file system for any changes and copy all changed files to another location and store the copy to an external storage device selected by the user.

How To Enable The File History Feature

While the new File History Feature won’t be enabled by default, you can easily turn it on by using the keyboard shortcut Windows Key + W that brings you to a “Settings” search box. Once you’re there, type “file history” and select the “File History” Icon.

Configuring The File History Feature

Once your File History feature is open it will search for compatible drives that are connected to your system. File history will work for any extra internal, external, and network drives.

The File History feature should connect to the drive with the most amount of free space, or you can select the specific drive you’d like to use. To do this, click the “Select Drive” link in the column to the left and choose the drive you’d like to use.

Once you’ve selected the drive, go back and turn on the File History. By default, all your documents should be backed up in Desktop Items, Favorites, Libraries, Contacts and your local SkyDrive folder (as long as SkyDrive desktop is installed in your Windows 8 computer).

Looking to gain more control of how often copies of your files are saved? Go to Advanced Settings and select the size of the offline cache and the number of times versions are being copied and saved.

How about using File History to copy your spreadsheets and documents only? You can exclude certain folders to save space. For instance, you probably don’t need a complete copy of your music collection.

Using the File History Feature To Recover Data

If you need to recover an important file before major changes were made to it, it’s simple to recover:

  • Navigate to the location of the file that you’re searching for in Windows File Explorer. Locate the “Ribbon” and click on the History Icon.
  • The most recent backup copy of the file will appear, but you can navigate back to earlier dates.
  • Highlight the file you need to recover, and click the green “Restore” button.
  • The file will then be placed in its original location.

Keep in mind this new feature won’t benefit you if you don’t turn it on!

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