Windows File History Is a Great Backup Tool in Windows 10

cageymaru

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Microsoft has hit a home run with the Windows File History backup tool. Hardware Secrets delves into the good and the idiosyncrasies of using the tool to make file backups. The tool checks often to see how files in the monitored folders have changed and saves copies of them based on the intervals that you set. The author of the article was able to retrieve a copy of a document after deleting an important paragraph. The instructions in the article are really straight forward and even have a graphical layout for those that aren't computer savvy in your family. Time to grab an external hard drive and save your most precious memories!

You will notice that only folders can be backup up using the File History. That is by choice. File History does not back up your program files or apps. It only backs up files that change often.
File History takes snapshots of versions of your files and stores them on your backup drive. Backups of changed files are made at the interval of your choosing. This creates a library of past versions that are recoverable. This can be extremely valuable.
I recently accidentally deleted an important paragraph from a document that I was working on. When I realized my mistake, I recovered the missing paragraph from one of the versions that was saved in my File History.
 

Domingo

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I've always been a fan of just making image back-ups (I use Macrium Reflect) every week. I used to use the Windows 7 imaging tool, but it stopped working a few revisions ago. I might have to dabble around with this.
 

ebduncan

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Backups are a pain in the ass, when you computer has over 10 TB of drive space.

used to be much easier when it was as simple as connecting a single usb drive and doing an image backup. Now it seems I have traversed time as I use a 15tb tape drive now :-D
 

MavericK

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I like File History. I back up multiple machines over the network to a central server using it and it works great. I like that the files are in a similar file structure rather than a single backup "file" like with Win 7 Backup and Restore.

Only downside is that it doesn't do a system image, but you can use the Win 7 backup for that.
 

fvbounty

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I've been using File History and it works great, best thing in W10, I also use sync-toy to keep file history up to date on my back up drives...good combination for backup!
 

Shmee

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It is a pretty cool feature. Hope this is the stuff they make more of.
 

cageymaru

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I like File History. I back up multiple machines over the network to a central server using it and it works great. I like that the files are in a similar file structure rather than a single backup "file" like with Win 7 Backup and Restore.

Only downside is that it doesn't do a system image, but you can use the Win 7 backup for that.

Haven't tried it myself, but here is a quote from the article. Is that what you're looking for?

Looking at the File History in the Control Panel adds one additional option. At the bottom of the page you have the option to do a system image backup. This will make an image of your entire hard drive. This includes you operating system, installed programs, and settings as well as files and folders.
 

MavericK

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Haven't tried it myself, but here is a quote from the article. Is that what you're looking for?

Looking at the File History in the Control Panel adds one additional option. At the bottom of the page you have the option to do a system image backup. This will make an image of your entire hard drive. This includes you operating system, installed programs, and settings as well as files and folders.

Yeah, if you click that option it just takes you to the Windows 7 Backup and Restore. ;)
 

Ur_Mom

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This is great! I'll set up backups tomorrow when I have time.



What is this "ransomware" and how do I get Bitcoins?
 

TrailRunner

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I miss Shadow Copy. No need for an extra drive, no need to set up a schedule, it was just there and worked great. Yeah, it didn't protect against drive failure, but for reverting files that were accidentally bungled, it was great. Too bad MS decided to drop client support for it.
 

-PK-

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I wouldn't trust file history for any serious backup needs. System restore points and settings were reset with the Anniversary Update, and I wouldn't be surprised if major updates cleared the file history or reset it's settings as well.
 

Bandalo

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I've been using it for a long time, pretty sure they had the same feature in Win 8/8.1.

Backs up all the documents and such from a desktop and two laptops in my house to my NAS every couple hours. It's worked great restoring accidentally deleted files and recovering from a crashed drive.

I know it's fun and cool to hate on MS and Windows 10, but this feature is pretty damn useful.
 

fvbounty

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I wouldn't trust file history for any serious backup needs. System restore points and settings were reset with the Anniversary Update, and I wouldn't be surprised if major updates cleared the file history or reset it's settings as well.

If you have the file history on a external HD, all your data is there, I check mine and all my music and photos are there and usable, if I lost my whole system I still have my data.
 

Bandalo

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I wouldn't trust file history for any serious backup needs. System restore points and settings were reset with the Anniversary Update, and I wouldn't be surprised if major updates cleared the file history or reset it's settings as well.

That's true with ANY backup program. You should always check your program settings after a major OS update. That being said, none of the OS updates so far (from the pre-release to the latest) have done anything adverse to my file history settings.
 

Spidey329

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I've always been a fan of just making image back-ups (I use Macrium Reflect) every week. I used to use the Windows 7 imaging tool, but it stopped working a few revisions ago. I might have to dabble around with this.

I use both in a layered approach.

Windows 10 File History for my working files, things I'm working on that change so rapidly a nightly image won't pick them up, and an image backup. File History is sent to a redundant network drive, which is RAID'd (for hardware protection) and also backed to an external drive nightly.

File history backups are I believe saved into a folder structure, so if a virus was to attack, say all of your .Doc files, it may be able to nuke those. Image backups are a good encapsulated second layer.




As far as the Imaging tool just deciding not to work, it happens, a lot - it's very easy to break it, as I did many times if I used the Win7 wizard and then manually edited the task scheduler for it (the settings wizard doesn't give you a whole lot of control over the task). For complete control of the backups, you need to use a command line argument and just configure the task manually without the wizard. Seems kinda silly, but it's more stable that way, no more random "I'm not going to work for some bullshit reason" issues.
 

Hurin

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With the release of Windows 10, however, Microsoft has finally given us a truly useful backup.

Nobody tell the author that File History was introduced in Windows 8.
 

Sp33dFr33k

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I do miss Shadow Copies for files, that was a great feature. File History is nice but getting people to either use it or connect a backup drive (in the case of laptops) is like pulling teeth. I also wish they would update the OS image process and modernize it instead of just using the old Windows 7 version which is buried in the backup options. The one thing I hated about Windows 7 backup feature was that the drive would just run out of space and the backups would stop running. At least file history has some configuration but I prefer other programs for pure file backup and syncing.
 

odditory

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Wasn't this already a feature in Windows 8/8.1? FWIW I don't think it's something new to 10.
 
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