File History helps you backup important files at regular intervals. Here’s the best way to enable File History in Windows 10 and set it up to backup files.
No matter who you are, it is crucial that you simply backup all of your important files to a separate disk or perhaps to cloud storage. That will help you with that, Windows has a built-in feature called File History. One of the best things about File History is it saves versions of your files. So, should you ever have to restore a file or all the files, you can easily do this through the File History interface.
In this quick guide, let me share the steps to enable the file history feature and configure it to backup your files on schedule.
To make use of the File History feature, you need an external hard disk. Because the File History is a backup tool, it will not backup files towards the internal hard disk(s) because they are not too secure in terms of survivability in the event of any mishaps.
Steps to enable file history in Windows 10
To allow File History in Windows, follow the steps given below.
1. First, plug-in your hard drive. The external hard drive could be in FAT32 or NTFS format.
2. After connecting the hard drive, open the Settings app. You can do that by pressing the “Windows key + I” shortcut. Next, visit the “Update & Security → Backup” page.
3. Here, click on the “Add a drive” button underneath the “Back up using File History” section.
4. Windows will now scan for connected external hard drives and displays them. Select the drive in the flyout menu.
Once you choose the drive, the File History feature is switched on automatically. By default, Windows will back up all of the user folders like desktop, downloads, pictures, videos, etc. You may also add custom folders to the backup. To do that, look into the third section.
Should you open the hard drive in File Explorer, you will notice a brand new folder called “File History” where all the files are backed up.
Change File History frequency
Automatically, File History will auto backup the files every hour so long as the external drive is connected. If needed, you can change the backup frequency to meet your requirements. For example, you are able to change it in one Hour to Once a Day.
First, connect the external hard drive and open the Settings app. In the Settings app, visit the “Update & Security → Backup” page. Around the right panel, click on the “More options” link.
Now, select the backup frequency of your choice from the “Backup your files” dropdown menu.
If you want to, you can also configure just how long Windows will keep the backups from the “Keep my backups” dropdown menu. In my case, I allow the defaults be. i.e, Windows will not delete any backups and that i need to delete old backups manually.
Add folders to file for History
In addition to the default user folders, you can also add custom folders to the backup. That way, you won’t lose any important files.
First, connect the external hard drive and open the Settings app. In the Settings app, go to the “Update & Security → Backup” page. On the right panel, click on the “More options” link.
Now, click on the “Add a folder” option under the “Back up these folders” section.
Choose the folder you need to backup and click on the “Choose folder” button.
The chosen folder is going to be instantly put into the list of folders to backup. The next time Windows performs a backup, it’ll include the new folder. If necessary, click on the “Backup now” button at the very top to trigger the backup at this time.
Disable file history & take away the external drive
Should you no longer need the File History feature, you can disable it and even detach the linked hard drive. Here’s how.
First, connect the external hard drive and open the Settings app. In the Settings app, visit the “Update & Security → Backup” page. Here, switch off the “Automatically back up my files” option.
If you want to detach the drive, click the “More options” link. Next, scroll all the way down and then click the “Stop using this drive” button.
Restore files from File History
If you ever need to restore files supported with File History, follow these steps.
First, connect the external hard disk and open the Settings app. In the Settings app, go to the “Update & Security → Backup” page. Here, click the “More options” link around the right page.
Scroll all the way down and then click the “Restore files from the current backup” link.
Now, choose the folder or file you need to restore in the browse window and then click the “Restore” icon (the green icon) at the bottom.
As soon as you click on the button, Windows will restore the latest form of the files in the File History backup. With respect to the folder/file size, it can take some time to complete the procedure. After restoring the files, you can close the File History window and also the Settings app.
Although the File History feature is pretty simple to use, there’s a couple of things you need to know.
First, the backed up files are unencrypted. Which means that anyone with access to your hard drive can easily see and access those backed up files.
When you turn off and detach the hard drive from File History, it may not delete the backup files. So it’s essential that you delete them manually, if necessary.
For automatic backup to operate, you must have the external hard drive connected to the system. If the drive isn’t connected, File History cannot run the backup.