How to Set Up File History in Windows 8: Quick and Easy

Written by Sandy Berger

Here’s how to set up File History in Windows 8. It’s great for your backups and it’s quick and easy. Here’s the 411 from Sandy Berger at — The Microsoft Windows 8 File History feature makes backup a breeze. It’s similar to the Backup included in previous versions of Windows but offers all sorts of new features. Here’s how to set up File History in Windows 8.

To get started, search for File History under Settings on your Start Screen. If you’re planning to backup your data to an external hard drive or USB drive, plug that into your USB port. Or, if you plan on backing up with a network drive, choose Select Drive, find your network and click Add Network Location.

Click or press the Turn On button to start File History.

On its default setting, File History will take hourly snapshots of all your files until it runs out of space on the drive. That includes everything in your libraries, Desktop, Contacts and Favorites. You can change the backup frequency and exclude certain folders under Advanced Settings. The only thing you can’t do is add additional folders.

Image credit: Sandy Berger

Depending on your setup, File History may prompt you to recommend the location you used on your computer to others in the Home Group. For most users, the answer is No. But if you want to share a large, portable hard drive with others, choose Yes.

Once your settings are configured, File History will get to work behind the scenes. It will continue to back up your files as long as you keep the feature activated and your chosen drive available.

To restore a backup file, open File Explorer. Click or press the little green-and-yellow History icon on the ribbon, which will launch the File History browser.

Image credit: Sandy Berger

This is where you’ll find a time capsule of everything File History has ever generated. Choose any file from your Documents library to scroll through different versions of various files. Find the version you want to restore, then click or press the green orb to restore the document.

Image credit: Sandy Berger

Windows 8 File History does not create full system backups, which is extremely valuable for most users. Nevertheless, it’s still an excellent insurance policy. It makes backing up and restoring your files quick and easy. I highly recommend File History for every Windows 8 user.

Based in Pinehurst, North Carolina, Sandy Berger is a veteran tech journalist and senior editor at covering tech tips and tricks, apps, gadgets, and consumer electronics. Email her at Follow her on Twitter @sandyberger, +SandyBerger on Google+, and on Facebook.

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