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File History

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Save your files automatically to protect your important data. After working as a support technician for a security software company and helping customers recover from bad viruses, malware and ransomware I learned very quickly that most everyday computer users do not have any type of backup process in place to protect their data.

Save your files automatically to protect your important data

Even some computer enthusiasts who have robust backup plans on the job do not have anything set up at home to protect their families data such as documents, pictures, etc. If you use cloud based storage services like OneDrive, iCloud, Box or DropBox then you can have copies of your files off your computer in the cloud but since those services sync changes that are made locally if you remove a file then it is gone in the cloud as well. There are no backup copies kept in those situations. I have learned over time that the process of creating a backup of important data needs to be easy to implement. It is very configurable and does not require much attention, beyond testing your backups of course, once it is set up and running. Back up and restore your files. It's always good to have a backup.

Back up and restore your files

Keep copies of your files on another drive in case something happens to the originals. Select the Start button, then select Settings  > Update & security > Backup > Add a drive and choose an external drive or network location for your backups. All set. Every hour, we’ll back up everything in your user folder (C:\Users\username). Protect your data files with Windows 10's enhanced File History tool. Everyone knows it's important to regularly back up the data on their computer's hard disk.

Protect your data files with Windows 10's enhanced File History tool

But knowing it is one thing; doing it is another. Fortunately, Windows 10 comes with a tool called File History that makes backing up and restoring files as easy as 1-2-3. File History isn't new to Windows 10; it was included in Windows 8.x as well. However, this version comes with an enhanced user interface and several new capabilities that offer definite improvements over its predecessor.

How To Backup Data With File History In Windows 8.1 & Windows 10. File History is an awesome tool included in all versions of Windows 8.1 and Windows 10.

How To Backup Data With File History In Windows 8.1 & Windows 10

It allows for easy automated backups of your data and it works with a number of devices on which data can be stored. As you will see from this guide, it is very easy to set up and use, because it needs very few resources and it knows how to store multiple versions of your files so that you can easily revert to the version you need, when you need it. In this guide to File History, you will learn how to find it, enable it and change the way it works. How To Access File History In Windows 8.1 & Windows 10 The easiest way to find File History is to open the Control Panel.

Alternatively, in Windows 8.1, you can search for the words "file history" directly on the Start screen. In Windows 10, you can use the Cortana Search Bar on the taskbar to find this tool. How to Change File History Settings in Windows 10. Restoring files from Windows 10's File History. In my last article, I showed you how to enable and configure File History from the new Windows 10 user interface and how to create a backup.

Restoring files from Windows 10's File History

As I explained, once your initial backup is complete, File History will monitor all the files and folders you chose and back up any files you change. Of course, the ultimate goal of File History is to be able to restore files that have been corrupted or inadvertently deleted. There are three places that you can begin a restore operation in Windows 10; however, they all perform the same basic operation. For the sake of expediency, I'll cover only one of them in detail, since it is the easiest to find and makes the most sense.

Let's take a closer look. Initiating a restore operation You can launch a File History restore operation by accessing a file's Properties page and using the controls on the Previous Versions tab. To get started, select the Home tab and go to the Open section. Figure A You can launch a restore operation from within File Explorer. Change how often File History saves copies of files in Windows 8. File History is one of those new features in Windows 8 that I'm excited about.

Change how often File History saves copies of files in Windows 8

It is an opt-in feature unfortunately that may be overlooked by the majority of Windows 8 users as it is hidden deep in the Control Panel were it needs to be activated and configured first. If Microsoft is not highlighting or advertising the feature to users, it is likely that it will only be used by tech-savvy users who know about the existence of the feature. What may play into this is the need for an external hard drive or network storage to store the saved file copies on.

File Copy backs up files from libraries, the desktop, contacts and favorites when it is enabled. The only option right now to add additional locations is to add them to a library so that they are automatically picked up by File History.