Windows 8 : File History (part 1) - Enabling and Configuring File History

- Free product key for windows 10
- Free Product Key for Microsoft office 365
- Malwarebytes Premium 3.7.1 Serial Keys (LifeTime) 2019

Windows 7 included a decent but well-hidden feature called Previous Versions that allowed you to recover an older version of a document or other data file, perhaps because you made an editing error and then inadvertently saved over the correct version. Previous Versions was a first stab at creating a front end for a service called Volume Shadow Copy that debuted in Windows Server 2003. And it was fine if you knew it was there. But most users didn’t. That’s because you had to right-click on the document, choose Properties, navigate to the Previous Versions tab, and hope that the appropriate previous version of the file was there.

In Windows 8, Previous Versions has been replaced by a vastly superior feature called File History. This feature works much like Previous Versions did, and utilizes updated versions of the same back-end technologies. But there are three major differences between Previous Versions and File History. First, File History isn’t enabled by default, so you’ll need to turn it on. Second, File History uses a lot less disk space to perform its backups, thanks to new compression technologies in Windows 8 and its ability to cache backups on your system disk. And third, File History is about a million times easier to use than Previous Versions. OK, we exaggerate. Maybe it’s just a thousand times easier.

What File History Backs Up

Not impressed? Well, if you create your own libraries, file versions in those locations will be backed up too, and automatically. Come on, that’s downright impressive.

By default, File History automatically backs up everything in your libraries, on your desktop, in your Favorites, and in Contacts. That’s a lot more stuff than it perhaps sounds like; remember that your libraries consist of eight locations by default: My Documents, Public Documents, My Music, Public Music, My Pictures, Public Pictures, My Videos, and Public Videos.

You can also configure File History to automatically back up other locations of your choice or, to not back up certain locations too. If you have a home network with a home server, a network attached storage (NAS) device, or a PC with lots of storage, you can even configure File History to work across the network, and then automatically recommend that location to others on the homegroup, creating a central location for all file backups.

CROSSREF Chapter 13 discusses homegroups, which is a networking feature that makes home-based sharing easier than ever.

To better understand File History, let’s see it in action.

Enabling and Configuring File History

File History, like Storage Spaces, is implemented as a classic control panel. So the fastest way to access its configuration interface is to use Start Search. Or, display Control Panel via the new power user menu (mouse into the lower-left corner of the screen, right-click, and select Control Panel) and then search for File History using the preselected search box.

The File History control panel is shown in Figure 1. As you can see, it’s disabled by default.

File History actually caches a subset of your file backups to your system disk. So this feature will often work just fine even when you’re away from home with a portable computer.

On a single disk PC or device, like your typical portable computer, File History will recommend using a network location.

Figure 1: File History is disabled by default and will recommend a network location on a single disk system.


Alternatively, you can use any other disk, including a removable, USB-based hard drive. If you have such a disk attached to the PC, File History will resemble Figure 2, where the other disk is preselected.

Figure 2: You can use secondary disks for File History as well.


To enable File History, simply click the Turn on button. However, some configuration options are available and should be considered first:

  • Change drive: If you’re not happy with the drive that File History selected, click this link to select a new one. The resulting page will help you select a new disk, if one is available, or a network location.
  • Exclude folders: If you would like to exclude certain folder locations from being backed up, you can do so here. Remember that everything in your libraries, desktop, Favorites, and Contacts is backed up, so be sure to pick a folder inside one of those locations, since other locations are already omitted.

You can also manually run a File History backup at any time by revisiting the control panel and selecting Run now.

  • Advanced settings: This important interface, shown in Figure 3, provides some fine-grained control over key File History functionality. You can change how often files are backed up, the size of the offline cache (which is the size of the File History backups replicated on your system disk), and the length of time to save backups. You can also use this interface to clean up (that is, delete) older backups and advertise your backup location to others on the homegroup.

Figure 3. Be sure to spend some time examining these options.


Once you’ve configured File History to your liking, click Save changes to return to the main File History screen and then click Turn on. File History will indicate that it is saving copies of your files for the first time, but you are free to close the window, get back to work, and do other things. You can pretty much forget about File History until you need it.

  •  Windows 8 : Storage Spaces (part 4) - Advanced Storage Spaces: Three-Disk Configurations
  •  Windows 8 : Storage Spaces (part 3) - A More Resilient Space: Two Disks, Two-Way Mirroring
  •  Windows 8 : Storage Spaces (part 2) - The Most Basic Storage Spaces Configuration of All: One Disk, One Space, No Resiliency
  •  Windows 8 : Storage Spaces (part 1) - Getting Ready for Storage Spaces
  •  Windows Server 2012 : Managing and Troubleshooting Hardware (part 11) - Resolving resource conflicts
  •  Windows Server 2012 : Managing and Troubleshooting Hardware (part 10) - Troubleshooting hardware
  •  Windows Server 2012 : Managing and Troubleshooting Hardware (part 9) - Adding non–Plug and Play, legacy hardware
  •  Windows Server 2012 : Managing and Troubleshooting Hardware (part 8) - Restricting device installation using Group Policy
  •  Windows Server 2012 : Managing and Troubleshooting Hardware (part 7) - Installing and updating device drivers
  •  Windows Server 2012 : Managing and Troubleshooting Hardware (part 6) - Viewing Advanced, Resources, and other settings
    Top 10
    Free Mobile And Desktop Apps For Accessing Restricted Websites
    MASERATI QUATTROPORTE; DIESEL : Lure of Italian limos
    TOYOTA CAMRY 2; 2.5 : Camry now more comely
    KIA SORENTO 2.2CRDi : Fuel-sipping slugger
    How To Setup, Password Protect & Encrypt Wireless Internet Connection
    Emulate And Run iPad Apps On Windows, Mac OS X & Linux With iPadian
    Backup & Restore Game Progress From Any Game With SaveGameProgress
    Generate A Facebook Timeline Cover Using A Free App
    New App for Women ‘Remix’ Offers Fashion Advice & Style Tips
    SG50 Ferrari F12berlinetta : Prancing Horse for Lion City's 50th
    - Messages forwarded by Outlook rule go nowhere
    - Create and Deploy Windows 7 Image
    - How do I check to see if my exchange 2003 is an open relay? (not using a open relay tester tool online, but on the console)
    - Creating and using an unencrypted cookie in ASP.NET
    - Directories
    - Poor Performance on Sharepoint 2010 Server
    - SBS 2008 ~ The e-mail alias already exists...
    - Public to Private IP - DNS Changes
    - Send Email from Winform application
    - How to create a .mdb file from ms sql server database.......
    programming4us programming4us