Backing up files with File History (Windows 8, 8.1, 10)

File History is an automated backup tool included in Windows versions 8, 8.1, and 10. Once set up and connected to an external storage device, File History will create a full back up and then periodically make a copy of any files that have been changed. This will protect your personal documents, music, photos, etc. but does not back up applications.

NOTE: When your external backup drive is full, backups will continue but they will overwrite the oldest backups on your drive.

Setting up File History:

You will need an external storage device to perform these steps. It will need to be connected to your computer for the duration of the process.

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  1. Open the Start menu, either by clicking the icon on the taskbar (Windows 8.1) or by pressing the Windows key on your keyboard (Windows 8).
  2. In the Start menu, type “file history” and it will automatically start a search. This will return “No apps match your search” initially.
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  3. Click Settings under the search bar on the right side of the screen and some results should appear.
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  4. Click File History in the search results and the File History window should open.
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  5. Make sure that the device shown under Copy Files to: is the storage device you would like to back up to, then click Turn on. This will turn on File History with all of the default settings.
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  6. Optional – By default, File History will backup your files contained in Documents, Music, Videos, and Pictures, your desktop, contacts, and favorites. It will make a backup of changes to these files every hour the drive is connected to your computer. For most users, these settings will be completely fine. If you want to change any of these options, you can do so under Advanced settings.

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  1. Click on the search box on the taskbar.
  2. In the search box, type “file history”.
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  3. Click File History settings in the search results and the Settings window should open.
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  4. Click Add a drive.
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  5. In the new window, you should see the external storage device you’ve connected to your computer. Click it and it will be set as your backup drive.
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  6. Make sure that Automatically back up my files is set to On. If it is, File History will start working with all of the default settings.
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  7.  Optional – By default, File History will backup your files contained in Documents, Music, Videos, and Pictures, your desktop, contacts, and favorites. It will make a backup of changes to these files every hour the drive is connected to your computer. For most users, these settings will be completely fine. If you want to change any of these options, you can do so under Advanced settings.

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