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Windows 8: Using File History

Windows 8 has a new backup feature called File History. It not only stores a backup of the data in your profile, but maintains historical copies of the changes, which enables previous versions to be recovered when necessary. File History requires an external removable hard disk drive, or a network location.

To setup:

  1. Attach a removable disk drive.

  2. Under Control Panel, open File History. Windows should detect the removable drive:

  3. Click OK.

    Windows will then turn on File History, and start the process to copy the files:

    This intial process will take some time, but you can continue working while it happens. However, don't power off or suspend the machine as this will delay the time required to fully back up the files.

  4. It is suggested the cache size be increased. Click Advanced Settings and set the Size of Offline Disk Cache to 20%.

By default, Windows will save file copies every hour. After the initial copy operation, the subsequent copies will be very quick as only the changes are copied. Therefore, leave the drive attached while the machine is in use so these copies can be taken. You do not need to attach the drive and initiate a backup manually.

Remember to keep the drive offsite whenever possible — take it with you when leaving your home or office.

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