How to set up and use File History in Windows 8

The practice of creating backups of important file is always considered as a good idea, as you never know when you may need them. However, the activity is ignored by many users. In fact, statistics reveal that less than 5% of PC consumers use Windows Backup. In an attempt to change this habit, Windows 8 has come up with a new feature known as File History.

File History is a backup application that continuously protects your personal files stored in Libraries, Desktop, Favorites, and Contacts folders. The program has been specifically designed to protect personal files only and therefore does not back up OS files or applications. The new feature is believed to be more powerful than Windows Backup and Restore found in Windows 7. When turned on, it periodically checks the file system for changed files and copies them to other location, if found.

Set up and use File History in Windows 8

  • Before you begin, you will have to set up a drive to save files to. It’s advisable to use an external drive or network location as repository to protect your files against a crash or other PC problem.
  • Next, you need to set up File History. How? Open File History control panel applet, connect an external drive, refresh the page, and then tap or click Turn on.
  • Alternatively, you can set up the drive in AutoPlay by connecting the drive to your PC and clicking on the notification that says ‘Tap to choose what happens with removable drives’.
  •  Then click on the option – Configure this drive for backup.
  • Once done, File History will silently run in the background and check your libraries, desktop, favorites and contacts for any changes (once every hour). If any changes are brought to its notice’ the ingenious program will automatically copy them to the File History drive.

More experienced PC users can use advanced File History features to control many aspects of its operation. For example, a user can exclude a folder. To do so, simply go to the File History Control Panel Applet and select ‘Exclude folders’ option.

Then, click on the Add button, browse to the folder you want to exclude and select it.

If you would like to access other advanced settings, visit the Advanced Settings page by clicking on ‘Advanced Settings’ option available under Control Panel Applet.

File History also supports many new features. For instance, there is ‘Restoring Files’ feature that lets you recover lost files in case something unusual occurs to your personal files.

Restore files in Windows 8

Microsoft has made it very easy to restore files. The restore application makes it very easy to:

  1. Browse personal libraries, folders and files in a way very similar to Windows Explorer.
  2. Search for specific versions using keywords, file names and date ranges.
  3. Preview versions of a selected file.
  4. Restore a file or a selection of files with one tap or a click of a mouse.

All you need to do is click on the ‘History’ button in Windows Explorer to see all versions of the selected library, folder or an individual file.

When done, you can view the entire history of a library.

If you want, you can click on a specific file and check the entire history of the selected picture.

Once you have found the file you have been looking for, you can click the Restore button to get it back.

The selected file automatically gets restored to its original location.

File History has been designed with two main objectives in mind:

  1. To offer best possible protection to user personal files.
  2. To offer ease, simplicity and peace of mind.

To learn more about the File History feature in Windows 8, visit MSDN Blogs.

You can read more about how to Backup, Restore, Add more files, Change Drive, Exclude folders, Configure File History, Delete old versions, Create Backups on Local Drive and more HERE.

Posted by on , in Category Windows with Tags
Anand Khanse is the Admin of, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.

One Comment

  1. MaximeIkIc

    Good Morning,

    I am Maxime, iKeepinCloud product manager.

    I just discovered this excellent article for Windows 8’s file history

    We have developed a cloud storage: iKeepinCloud
    iKeepinCloud integrates into the native backup software for Windows 8.

    Here is a demo available on Youtube: for backup for storage

    There is no storage limit.
    Your data is stored in Europe in our own Data Center.

    I would be happy to hear your feedback on the use of iKeepinCloud on Windows 8.

    Maxime L.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

5 + 3 =