When you experience a system crash, maybe physical damage to a computer, will you have a backup of your important files to use elsewhere? Here in Windows 8, we can use File History to create a backup of our important files backing them up to an external drive or a network drive, for example, where we'll have access to them to restore them should we need to. If you want to follow along with me, you can try plugging in a USB drive, if you haven't got one already. Any type of external drive or consider a network drive to connect to for File History.
Now to access it, the quickest way here from our Start screen is just to go to one of the hot corners in the top or bottom right-hand corner. When the charms appear we'll click Search and type in File History. Now when we click Settings, you'll see a number of options, File History, Save Backup Copies, Restore Files, here's where we'll go if we did have an issue. But let's just go to File History right on top. It takes us to our desktop environment. You'll see the default is that File History is off and by default it's going to be copying files from your Libraries, Desktop Contacts, and Favorites to a USB drive if you have one connected.
If you don't have a drive, you'll need to select a drive like a network drive. So, for example, if we go to the left-hand side, you'll see Select Drive. Give it a click. If you have more than one USB drive, for example, connect it. You can select it from the list or you could go to Add Network Location. I'm fine with the one that's connected for me. So I'm going to click Cancel, you can select a drive of your choosing and then OK that. I also have a message here saying that File History has found files that are encrypted and in this case it's on a drive that doesn't use the file system that's necessary and they won't be backed up.
So if there are any types of files that can't be backed up, you'll see a message like I have here, just reminding you. We can also pick and choose folders to exclude. In other words, we may have folders that have files that we don't need to back up and take up space. Let's go to Exclude Folders. By default, there aren't any, but we can click the Add button to go in here and add some. For example, I don't need to back up my music. I'm going to click that and select that folder. It's really a library, so anything included in my music library is also included as to be excluded from my File History backup.
Then you just repeat the process for any other folders. For example, I'm going to scroll down here, take a look at any folders that maybe I don't need my Exercise Files backed up. I'll select that folder and it, too, is included now as one of the folders that will not be backed up. I'll save those changes and now all I really have to do is turn this on. When we click Turn On, File History is turned on. It maybe saving copies right away and you can see my File History is saving copies of my files for the very first time.
I could stop that and I can turn this off at anytime, but I'm going to let it do its thing. Meanwhile, we can check out some advance settings where you'll also find out what the default settings are by clicking Advanced Settings over here on the left. First of all, copies of your files are going to be saved every hour. When we click the dropdown, we can change that. Now for me I would say daily is enough, but you can see there's an assortment of options here for the frequency in which your files are being backed up. I'm going to choose Daily. The Size of the Offline Cache, this is an area that's going to use up some disk space and it's just where temporary files are stored.
We can increase or decrease that from the default of 5%. The files that are backed up, how long are they saved for? Well, the default is forever, but we may run out of disk space. So I'm going to click this dropdown and choose Until Space is Needed then older versions will be removed to create space. I like that option. We also have the ability to allow people in our Homegroup to use this drive as well. We can recommend this drive to our homegroup members by clicking this checkbox and they'll be able to do a File History backup as well.
I don't actually want to do that. I'm going to deselect that. Eventually, we can access logs to view recent errors or events. Notice this is for administrator access only and that is a link that appears here under Advanced Settings. If you do make changes, make sure you click Save Changes which takes us back and you can see there's still a copy going on here and the amount of free space is going down on my external drive. So eventually, you could run into an issue, you would have that external drive or that network drive where, if you needed to, you could restore your personal files by clicking this link in File History, access the drive, and they'll be restored to locations on your new computer or repaired computer for example.
So that's the File History, a nice little feature that just keeps running in the background without you even knowing it. If something were to go wrong like a system crash of even physical damage to a drive, you could get your personal files back, thanks to File History. Let's just close this up and let it do its thing. We'll press our Windows key to go back to the Start screen and continue from here.
- Upgrading from other Windows versions
- Transferring files to Windows 8
- Organizing files and folders
- Managing your inbox with the Mail app
- Sending instant messages with Messaging
- Working with Notepad, WordPad, and Paint
- Controlling system sounds, volume, and accessibility options
- Getting connected to the Internet
- Keeping your PC secure with Windows Update
- Using parental controls to block unwanted content
- Printing from Windows 8
- Fixing issues with the Problem Steps Recorder
- Keeping file backups with File History
- Navigating the web with Internet Explorer 10