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One issue that many of us have come across in the past is the loss of a file or files due to damage, maybe they were accidentally deleted. In any case, if you're using a feature called File History, which backs up your files, you may have an opportunity to recover them. So let's take a look at File History beginning here in the Windows 8.1 environment, by checking out our File History settings. Lets type in the word history right here from the Start screen, see what happens. Okay right at the top of our list, and we see that cog icon representing something that's going to happen here in the new Windows 8.1 environment.
I have my File History settings. I also see an old icon, representing File History in the old desktop environment. And that's where we can go to, get into the nitty-gritty. So we'll start with our File History settings by giving that a click. Things we can do here include, turning it on, so it automatically starts backing up, any documents, music, pictures, videos and desktop files on this PC. Where are they going to go to? Well, if you have a network drive it may show up here. If you have a USB drive plugged into your the computer like I do, it may show up here.
And you can select a different drive by clicking Select a different drive, it's going to search all of your network drives as well as anything plugged in. And you can see I don't have anything else, except this one USB drive that's plugged into my computer, no other usable drives found. So I'll just click off to the edge here, to close that up. Alright, all I need to do now is turn it on. As soon as I do turn it on, you can see File History is starting to back up my files. Didn't take very long. You can see the date and time when they were backed up, and at anytime I can come back here to do a manual back up. So how often does it get backed up? What exactly is getting backed up, and what's not? These are some of the details we can access from that old desktop environment.
So let's press the Windows key to go back to our Start screen and type in history again. This time though we're going to go to File History down below, which will take us to the old desktop environment and open it up. Here, you'll see that it is turned on, because we just did turn it on. Down below, you can see it's copying files from our libraries, etc. And it's going to our removable drive for me. You can see when the last copy was, you can run it now, or you can turn it off from here as well. But, there are some other options over here, down the left hand side.
For example, here if you do lose a file or it becomes corrupted, here's where you go to Restore those personal files. Select a different drive, maybe there are certain folders you don't need backed up. Let's go to Exclude folders. Now from here, you can see there are no excluded items. But we can start adding anything that does not need to be backed up. I'm not concerned about my music, for example, I'll choose that library right there, and Select Folder. Now we can go about adding additional ones. Maybe Videos as well, select that.
And if you wanted to, you could go browsing through those libraries. So, over here on the left hand side, for example, where you see your PC. You'll also see access to things like your desktop. Let's go there. And let's say this private folder, I don't want it backed up. Select it, and click Select Folder. There we go. Save your changes, if you do make any changes and going forward, those folders, libraries, etc, will not be included in your backup. Let's go to Advanced settings now, because from here, you'll see things like copies of files are being saved by default every single hour.
Maybe that's not necessary. I could go to every few hours, or just daily for that matter. You can see, I could go to as frequent as every 10 minutes. I'm going to go to, every three hours. The size of my offline cache is set to 5% of my disk space. That's the default. There's some other options from 2, all the way up to 20%. So the offline cache is an area on your drive that's being used temporarily, to store some of these files. Keep saved versions, you can see is set to Forever.
Every time you do a backup, there's an older version of your files that might be getting backed up as well. So you could have several versions of the same file going back in time. Click this drop-down and you can change, how you save or keep those saved versions. Until space is needed, then they'll be deleted. Just keep them for a month, a few months or forever, which is the default. I like this one until space is needed. That way if I do run out of space, older versions will be deleted, and I'll still have room to perform the next backup.
We could also inform members of our home group, that they could use this drive as well by clicking a check box next to Recommend this drive. I don't want to do that. I want to keep it to myself. And as an administrator, if you have admin privileges, you can Open the File History events log, to view you recent events or errors. Clicking this link will show you what's happened in the past. So go ahead and give it a click. You'll see File History is selected down here on the left hand side. You can see some things. There was an error at one point on a certain date, all the way back to this date for me.
You may have more and more entries than I do, but I do have a few. And I can go to these, to read a little bit of information down below on each of them. Alright, we'll close up the log, knowing that it's there if we need it. We've made a few changes here. We need to save those by clicking Save changes. And we'll leave File History on, for as long as we need it. We can close this up, return to our Start screen pressing the Windows key. Knowing that our files are being backed up, excluding the folders that we've selected.
And that means, if we were to lose any of those files, maybe they get deleted, corrupted, we will be able to go back and restore those from the same location.
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