You may back up crucial data and documents to an external location automatically with Windows 10 and Windows 11’s File History function. In an emergency, you can then recover them.
That important and precious file that you were recently reading in Windows is either missing or won’t open. Are you having issues? If you’ve been utilizing File History, no.
File History, which is available in Windows 10 and Windows 11, can automatically store particular file folders on a backup device, enabling you to retrieve a previous version of a file in the event that it disappears or becomes damaged and useless.
File History is reasonably easy to set up and use in Windows 10; it is more challenging to locate and use in Windows 11. The main drawback of File History on both operating systems is that it only backs up files from specified directories, like Documents, Music, Pictures, Videos, and Desktop, as well as any offline OneDrive items kept on your computer. As you could in earlier Windows versions, you can no longer add more folders to the mix.
Microsoft advises adding any files you need to back up that aren’t already in one of these preset folders. If it isn’t feasible, you should think about using a different backup program from File History that offers more features and flexibility. Otherwise, follow these instructions to set it up and back up your crucial files, images, and documents in case something goes wrong.
Configure a Storage Unit
Make sure you have a functioning drive attached to or accessible from your PC first. Simple flash drives, external drives, or network locations on network-attached storage drives might all be used for this. Before attempting anything else, make sure to connect your drive if it connects to the computer.
A wireless network drive needs to be correctly mapped and powered in order to function. Note that any external drive you use must always be connected and accessible because File History will run automatically on a regular basis.
Windows 10 File History Configuration
Click the Start button and select Settings > Update & Security > Backup in Windows 10. Click Add a drive under Back up using File History. Windows show you a list of backup devices, presuming you have attached one that is functional. Choose the backup location you want to utilize.
Although it is not currently backing up any files, File History is now enabled. To configure a few parameters, click the link marked “More choices.”
Choose how often you want to back up your files by clicking the drop-down box next to Back up my files. Options range from every 10 minutes to daily. Next, choose how long you want to keep your backup files—from Until space is needed to Forever—by clicking the Keep my backups drop-down option.
File History will automatically start backing up a number of basic folders, such as Desktop, Downloads, Music, and more. You can, however, take some of these folders out of the mix. Examine the list of pre-backed-up default folders by scrolling down the Backup settings box. Click Remove to exclude any folder you don’t want to back up.
Click the Add a folder button next to Exclude these folders to exclude any folders that aren’t already listed on the page. Choose any directories you want to exclude from File Explorer.
As soon as everything is ready, click the Back up now button at the top of the screen, and Windows will begin backing up the folders and files that are part of your backup package. When your backup is complete, Windows shows the overall size as well as the backup’s date and time.
File Restoration on Windows 10
Let’s assume that the crucial file disappears or is corrupted. To recover it, use the backup of your File History. To access further options, navigate to Settings > Update & Security > Backup and click it. Click Restore files from a current backup at the bottom of the File History window after scrolling down.
The folders that File History has backed up are all visible in Windows. To view a file, first, double-click the desired folder, then do the same for the file. If it’s the file you require, restore it by clicking the green button at the bottom of the window.
Windows will automatically restore a file to its original location if the original file is missing. Windows gives you the option to either replace the file, preserve the original file exactly as it is, or compare the two files if it is still present in their original location.
You must first stop using your current disk if you ever wish to alter the location of your backups. Click More choices from the Backup screen in Settings’ Update & Security. Click Stop using Drive at the bottom of the page as you scroll down. To restart the procedure with a new backup location, return to the previous screen and select Add a disk.
Windows 11 File History Configuration
Microsoft moved File History to the Control Panel in Windows 11 and deleted it from the Settings page. The quickest approach to use the function is to search for File History using the taskbar’s search icon, then choose the relevant result.
File History chooses a disk from a search of all connected, suitable drives. Click the Select drive link, pick the drive you want to use, and then click OK if you don’t want to utilize the selected disk.
If you want to exclude any folders from the backup, click Exclude folders on the File History screen. File History in Windows 11 doesn’t show a prebuilt list of directories for you to exclude, unlike in Windows 10. As an alternative, you must manually add directories. Select any folder you want to exclude, then click Add. Click Save Changes when finished.
To access advanced settings, click File History. To choose how frequently File History should run, from once every 10 minutes to once daily, click the drop-down option next to Save copies of files.
To choose how long the file backups should be stored, from Until space is needed to Forever, click the menu for Keep saved versions. Once done, click Save Changes.
To start the initial backup, click the Turn on the button from the File History panel.