Automatically Make Continuous Backups of Personal Files with Windows 8/8.1 File History

If backing up your files always seems like the chore you never get around to and you have Windows 8.x, you will welcome a new feature called “File History”. It makes it very easy to set up frequent and automatic backups of your personal files and data. However, it is disabled by default. Here’s how to enable it.

There are several ways to access File History. Here is one that works from either the Desktop or the Start screen:

  1. Use the keyboard shortcut Winkey+W to open the Settings search function.
  2. Type “file history” or just “file”.
  3. Click “File History” in the list of selections that opens (not "File History settings").
  4. The File History dialog window will open. Click the first thumbnail to see an example.
  5. You can choose to have backups placed on an external disk like a USB drive. Attached drives will be automatically detected or you can click “Select a drive”  from the entries in the left side of the File History window.
  6. Click “Turn on” once you have selected a drive.

You can also use Control Panel-> System and Security -> File History to open File History.

Windows 8.x File History settingsThe default setting is for hourly backups but this and other settings can be configured by clicking “Advanced settings” on the left side of the File History window. Click the second thumbnail to see an example of an advanced settings dialog window.

File History only backs up files stored in libraries, desktop, favorites and contacts folders. It does not replace a complete system backup. However, it provides a very convenient way to protect personal files. It is very fast and uses few system resources. Some details of how it works are given in an article at Microsoft TechNet Magazine.

More detail about using File History can be found in this article

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This tips section is maintained by Vic Laurie. Vic runs several websites with Windows how-to's, guides, and tutorials, including a site for learning about Windows and the Internet and another with Windows 7 tips.

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Comments

by ghlnknjc on 8. February 2014 - 14:30  (114321)

How many people have an external drive that they connect all the time to a laptop? File history is great but for most people they don't have the resources or time to use it.

by fluttrz on 15. March 2014 - 21:17  (115042)

Hi, I dont have an external, and at the moment i don't even seem to have flash drives (dont ask) but I was able (oh sorry i'm running 8.1) was able to from the window asking u where (dvd, flash,...) I selected "Select a drive" from there i was able to assign a "network drive" and it's location by clicking, well for me it was user and i added a folder and named it Backup Drive. It is working. I hope this might help. I have assigned "network drives" on my husband computer Win7 through network setting and have essential files being backed up through our network onto his computer.

Or if it might be better (i haven't done this on my computer but have kinda on my table so please google how to do it exactly) you should be able to use personal cloud. I use Box i now have over 50gb for free for 2 years and i can upload anything and it has never fail.

I just did a quick search and I found this link with a very easy how to guide that u might find helpful, it includes how to use clouds and give links to them as well.

http://lifehacker.com/5911022/what-cool-things-can-i-do-with-all-this-fr...

by v.laurie on 8. February 2014 - 15:02  (114322)

There are several ways to make use of File History. On all my laptops I have a slot for an SD flash card. There are 32 GB SD flash cards for sale for less than $20. If you aren't backing up videos or thousands of pictures, an inexpensive SD card or USB flash drive can be used. Also, you don't have to always have the backup device connected. The File History function detects when you attach a drive.

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