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The Windows File History is a continuous data protection component that automatically backup files to external hard drive or network. File History only backs up copies of personal files in the Documents, Pictures, Music, Videos, and Desktop folders and the OneDrive files are available offline on your PC. It replaces Shadow Copy as the main backup tool from Windows 8.
Different from Backup and Restore, the purpose of File History is to back up personal files rather than creating a complete system image. It saves a copy of the files in those folders to another location, such as an external HDD or network. Besides, File History cannot back up files encrypted with EFS.
File History is available from Windows 8 to Windows 11. Even though Backup and Restore also apply to Windows 10/11, File History is still the utility Microsoft recommends for backing up files. In order to meet all Windows users' needs, this guide provides detailed steps for the three kinds of Windows systems. You can follow the steps according to your Windows version.
Access File History
Due to the different versions of the Windows system, there are some differences in access and operation. But don't worry, I'll present the steps as separate listings.
For Windows 8
Click on the magnifying glass icon, and search for "Control Panel." Click on "System and Security" and then select "File History"
For Windows 10
Click Start, and search for "Control Panel." Click Open and then choose File History
For Windows 11
Choose Start > Settings > Update & Security > Backup
Set up File History
If you didn't set up a backup drive before, you need to click the "Turn On" button to enable File History. Then choose an external drive or network location for your backups. Click "Add a folder" to add the folders you want to back up.
Configure File History Settings
For Windows 8/10/11, after adding the folders, you can also exclude certain folders or add new folders. Because the operations are similar, take Windows 8 as an example.
Since many users are now running Windows11, the following part will list how to get more options in Windows 11 File History.
Step 1. Rack the Backup page with the above method
Step 2. After turning on Automatically back up my files, you can click More options.
Step 3. On this page, set the backup frequency and retention period.
After finishing all these steps, confirm that everything is properly selected, and then you can begin your backup process by clicking "Start Backup" or“Back up now".
It has been mentioned that File Backup is only for personal files instead of protecting the entire system. Although it does a reasonably good job in protecting your files, File History does nothing to protect the Windows operating system or the programs that are installed on your computer. You may understand it's important for us to back up our files as well as systems. Therefore, you need to find another advanced backup software for emergencies, like system crashes.
Why EaseUS Todo Backup is recommended as the advanced free backup software. Briefly, compared with File History, it provides users with more options in the following ways:
- Flexible backup types: besides backup your files, also available for disk, system, and even external HDD.
- Multiple backup destinations: the files can be backed up to NAS, Google Drive, EaseUS cloud, and so on.
Here is a guide on how to back up files on your computer with EaseUS Todo Backup
Step 1. To begin the backup process, click the Select backup contents button.
Step 2. Four data backup categories are listed: File, Disk, OS, and Mail.
Step 3. Lists of both local and network files are shown on the left-hand side of the screen. Expanding the directory so that you can choose the files to back up.
Step 4. Follow the guidance on the screen and choose the place where you want to store the back up.
Make sure that the backup is encrypted and set the backup schedule by clicking Options in Backup Options. You can also choose to start the backup at a certain time in Backup Scheme by clicking Options. There are many other customizable options that you can look into.
Step 5. You can store the backup file either on your computer, in EaseUS's cloud service, or on a network-attached storage device (NAS).
Step 6. EaseUS Todo Backup enables customers store backup copies of their files on a third-party cloud drive or on the company's own cloud storage.
If you want to back up your data on a third-party cloud drive, select Local Drive and scroll down to add Cloud Device. Then fill in your account information.
Click EaseUS Cloud, then sign up and log in with your EaseUS account if you wish to store backup files to EaseUS' own cloud storage service.
Step 7. Click on Backup Now to start a backup. When the backup process is done, it will display as a card on the left-hand side of the screen. A right-click will let you see more about how to handle the backup job in more depth.
This is our comprehensive guide on how to create a File History backup in Windows 8/10/11. It's clear that from Windows 10 to Windows 11, the function of File History is gradually decreasing. With much complementary and replacement backup software for the File History utility, the EaseUS Todo Backup is outstanding because of experienced and reliable. It may become the default choice for you from now on.
1. Is Windows 10 File History incremental?
In Windows 10, the feature of "File History" is to quickly create incremental backups of your files on an external or network drive. In order to prevent data loss against storage failure, accidental deletion, or corruption.
2. How do I know if the File History backup is working?
To check if File History is backing up your data, you can go to File Explorer. First, select This PC, and double-click on the target backup drive. Second, right-click on the File History folder and select Properties. If the backup process is active, it means that there should be a progress bar visible on the screen and information on the file size.
3. Why can't I turn on File History?
If File History is not working on Windows 10, you can update the computer to the latest operating system version. Then, try to restart the Indexing Service, and install the latest driver update for your external hard drive. Moreover, run SFC to repair corrupted system files.
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Updated byJean is recognized as one of the most professional writers in EaseUS. She has kept improving her writing skills over the past 10 years and helped millions of her readers solve their tech problems on PC, Mac, and iOS devices. …Read full bio
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