How to Manage File History Feature on Windows 10 Machine?

File History service — an automated feature for continuously protecting your files stored in several key locations on Windows 10. First time it appeared in Windows 8 and since then users got ability to create a backup of important files in a pretty easy and fast way.

To use this feature, you’ll need an external HDD which is connected to PC — you can set your OS to perform backup on a regularly basis. This allows you to restore your files backup at any time.

How to Turn On File History on Windows 10?

File History feature in Windows 10 allows user to activate it by following a few simple steps. Of course there is one requirement to make it possible to use it – you must have an external HDD connected to your computer all the time.

Follow the next instructions:

  1. Go to Windows Settings (press Win + I) -> Update & security -> Backup;
  2. Click on Add a drive. In newly appeared menu select an external HDD which you want to use to store backups;
    file history back up windows 10
  3. After you added a drive you will see a new option appeared – Automatically back up my files. You need to turn it on in order to make the OS to perform the backup automatically;
    file history back up

Tip. You can also activate File history on Windows 10 through Control Panel, but it doesn’t allow you to choose specific folders.

How to Change Settings of File History on Windows 10?

Now we will show you how to change the feature’s settings due to your needs. It is not necessary to back up all the computer’s files (of course you are free to do this in case you have enough free space on external drive) – you can perform a backup only of some specific folders or drives. Thanks to this, you can perform a backup using even a small capacity USB drives and that will keep your files in safety. To change the settings of File history on Windows 10 follow the instructions:

  1. Go to Settings (press Win + I) -> Update & security -> Backup. Click on More options button to get to backup options;
  2. In section Overview you will find an information on external drive: the system displays how much space does current backup takes, total free space on drive, date and time of the last backup etc.
    file history backup options windows 10
  3. To perform a backup – click on Back up now button.
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Now let’s take a closer on look on the settings of File History feature. User gets a pretty big choice and free to set all of these parameters according to the personal specific needs:

  1. Set the backup options to perform a backup on daily or hourly basis;
  2. Set the period for OS to store the backup copy;
  3. Choose the specific folders which you want to back up.

Tip. Windows can use only one specific external drive to create backups. So in case you want to change the drive, at first you will need to click on Stop using drive button (your backup copies won’t be deleted in that case).

file history back up USB

How to Restore Files from File History on Windows 10?

We already activated the feature and now we will show you how to restore files from Windows 10’s File History. Follow the instructions:

  1. Go to Settings (press Win + I) -> Update & security -> Backup -> More options;
  2. Scroll down a little bit and click on Restore files from a current backup;
    file history restore backup
  3. Now File history window will appear. You will see all folders that current backup copy contents – you are free to choose any folders to restore;
    file history windows 10

Tip. In case you need to restore some specific version of file or folder – use the navigation arrow buttons to choose the version of this item.

Another method to restore the file is to use the context menu for the specific file. For example, open the folder which you want to restore using File Explorer and then right click on a specific file or folder. Click on Restore previous version in the context menu.

file history previous version

In newly appeared window the system will switch you to Previous Versions tab, you will find a list of available versions to restore. You can open any version you like or restore it by using buttons Open and Restore.

file history previous versions

Tip. In case you want to restore file or folder in a specific location – click on a little arrow near Restore button and choose Restore To.

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file history restore to

How to Disable File History Feature in Windows 10?

If you want to disable File History in Windows 10 – you have few options.

The first one method is to stop using the drive for File History (you can do that by clicking Stop using drive button).

Another method is to disable automatic backup by switching off Automatically back up my files option. In such case the external HDD will stay connected (and still contains old versions of files), but in order to back up your files you’ll need to perform it manually.

File History Can’t Find an External Drive

Such issue can appear when you are trying to connect File History feature with internal drives (not external one). In case you don’t have a free external drive, you can solve this problem by creating a network folder; then you need to specify this folder as a drive to store backup. Follow the instructions:

  1. Create a random folder which is going to be used to store your File history backups (in our example C:\TechCrises);
  2. Right click on this folder and choose its Properties;
  3. Now switch to Sharing tab and click on Share;
    file history sharing
  4. In new window you need to choose your account and click on Add button. After that click on Share;
    file history account
  5. Make sure you stopped using all drives for creating a backup. Now press Win + R and run command control;
  6. Go to System and Security -> File History;
    file history on windows 10
  7. You will face error No usable drive was found you need to click on Select a network location;
    file history network location
  8. At the next step click on Add network location;
    file history add network location
  9. In newly appeared window click on your computer icon, then you will see a folder you’ve shared before. Choose this folder and click on Select folder button;
  10. Now you will notice that the folder you created is looks like a drive now. Click on it and press OK.
    file history location
  11. Now you need to click on Turn on button in File History settings. That`s all!
    file history turn on

File History in Windows 10 is a free, very simple and powerful feature that can handle your local backup needs. The main disadvantage of this feature is that it can only back up a user’s files, not entire Windows 10 backup.

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