aNewDomain.net — Many of the new features in Windows 8 deserve a deeper look, not the least of which is the new built-in backup called File History. If you have used Windows Backup in previous versions of Windows, you will be happy to know that this new backup brings tons of welcome features. Best of all, it is easy to set up and works seamlessly in the background.
To set up the File History, simply type the words File History at the Start screen. Choose to search the Settings on the right side. Then choose File History from the results. If you will be backing up to an external hard drive or USB drive, plug it into the USB port on your computer. The File History screen will show that drive. Click or press the Turn on button to start File History. If you plan on using a network drive for your backup, you simply choose Select Drive then choose the drive and press or click Add network location.
By default File History in Windows 8 takes snapshots of all files in your Libraries, Desktop, Contacts, and Favorites every hour and it keeps the snapshots forever or until it runs out of space on the chosen drive. Under Advanced Settings in the File History screen, you can change the frequency of the backup and you can exclude any of the chosen backup folders, but you cannot add additional folders.
When you are working in the File History screen, depending on your computer setup, a message may pop up asking you if you wish to recommend the location that you used for File History to other users in your HomeGroup. Most of us will choose No, but if you have a large portable hard drive and want others to share it, choose Yes.
Once you have configured the settings, File History will start working in the background and continue to back up your files as long as it is turned on and the chosen drive is available.
To restore any file that is being backed up, open the File Explorer and click or press the small green and yellow History icon on the ribbon.
This will launch the File History browser, and give you all the different versions of the Documents Library. You can choose any document and scroll through the versions that File History has created. When you find the version you want to restore, you simply choose it and click on the Green Orb to restore the document.
As useful as Windows 8 File History is, it does not create full system backups. This is still extremely valuable. Once the File History is set up you don’t have to think about it again. It makes backing up and restoring your files quick and easy. File History is an excellent insurance policy that every Windows 8 user should use.
All images credit Sandy Berger for aNewDomain.net
Based in Pinehurst, North Carolina, Sandy Berger is a veteran tech journalist and senior editor at aNewDomain.net covering tech tips and tricks, apps and gadgets in general. Email her at Sandy@aNewDomain.net. Follow her on Twitter @sandyberger, +SandyBerger on Google+, and www.facebook.com/sandyberger on Facebook.