How to Enable Windows 8 File History

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Windows 8 has a new feature called File History. It scans your system every hour for personal file changes and backs them up automatically. Here’s how to enable this important layer of data protection.

ccording to an article from Steven Sinofsky on the Building Windows 8 Blog:

"File History is a backup application that continuously protects your personal files stored in Libraries, Desktop, Favorites, and Contacts folders. It periodically (by default every hour) scans the file system for changes and copies changed files to another location. Every time any of your personal files has changed, its copy will be stored on a dedicated, external storage device selected by you. Over time, File History builds a complete history of changes made to any personal file."
Enable File History in Windows 8

To use the File History feature, you’ll need a connected external or network drive. As with anything in Windows, there’s several different ways to get to it.

When you’re on the Metro Start screen, hit Windows Key + W to bring up Settings Search. Type: File History then select the icon under the results.

Image: Tech Tip - July 23, 2012

Or, when you plug an external drive into your system, click the message that AutoPlay pops up.

Image: Tech Tip - July 23, 2012

Then select Configure this Drive for Backup File History.

Image: Tech Tip - July 23, 2012

File History is off by default, but you’ll see your backup drive listed. Click Turn On.

Image: Tech Tip - July 23, 2012

It will run a backup of all of your important data right away and will do that every hour by default. Or you can go back in and click Run Now.

Image: Tech Tip - July 23, 2012

Under Advanced Settings you can control how often it scans your system for changes. You can select from every 10 minutes to everyday.

Image: Tech Tip - July 23, 2012

To add a network drive, click Select Drive. Then click Add Network Location and browse to the directory you want to back up to.

Image: Tech Tip - July 23, 2012

There’s quite a bit more you can do with this and I will be covering that in depth as ourWindows 8 coverage continues. This is one of the first things you should turn on when you get a new Windows 8 computer this fall.

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LAST UPDATED 7/23/2012