Windows’ File History is one of the easiest ways to automatically back up your data files and it even lets you go back in time to retrieve earlier versions of them. However, this helpful feature, which is avilable in Windows 8 and 10, is turned off by default.
To use File History, you’ll need a second storage device, such as a USB hard drive or SD card, to use with File History. Or you could use a network location, such as a shared folder on another PC on your network for the backup location. File History will back up all of the files in your libraries (Documents, Music, Pictures, and Videos), as well as Desktop, Contacts, Favorites, and your OneDrive folders.
What is Windows File History?
Earlier Windows versions had an inbuilt data backup utility known as Backup And Restore. Later, a more advanced Windows backup utility came with the arrival of Windows 8, and it has been carried forward to Windows 10 also.
Microsoft wanted to replace Backup and Restore with File History. They even removed the former in Windows 8.1, but it reappeared in Windows 10 as Backup and Restore (Windows 7).
How to Set Up File History
1. Search for “file history” from the taskbar and click on “File History settings.”
2. Click “Add a drive” in the Settings app.
3. Select your drive or network location.
To choose a network location, scroll down and click “Show all network locations” to find the shared location.
4. Click “More options” to customize File History.
Here you’ll be able to change how frequently backups will run, how long they’ll be kept, choose the folders to be backed up, exclude folders from the backup, or switch to a different drive.
How to Restore a File with File History
To get an important file or folder back:
1. Search for “restore files” from the taskbar and click on “Restore your files with File History.”
2. Navigate to the file or folder to restore. If you want to restore a previous version of a file, use the arrows to see earlier versions of it.
3. Click the Restore button to save it in its original location. You can save it to a different location by right-clicking on the file then selecting “Restore to” and choosing a new location.