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File History - How to Use in Windows 8


Airbot

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File History - How to Use in Windows 8
This tutorial will show you how to set up and use the File History feature in Windows 8 and Windows 8.1.
Published by Airbot
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How to Set up and Use File History in Windows 8 and 8.1
Synopsis
This tutorial will show you how to set up and use the File History feature in Windows 8 and Windows 8.1.
How to Set up and Use File History in Windows 8 and 8.1

Note   Note
File History is a new feature introduced in Windows 8 that automatically backs up files that are only in your libraries, contacts, favorites, and on your desktop. If the originals are lost, damaged, or deleted, you can restore all of them. You can also find different versions of your files from a specific point in time. Over time, you'll have a complete history of your files.

File History in Windows 8 is basically a new version of the Previous Versions feature in Vista and Windows 7.

It periodically (by default every hour) scans the file system for changes and copies changed files to another location. Every time any of your personal files has changed, its copy will be stored on a dedicated, external storage device selected by you. Over time, File History builds a complete history of changes made to any personal file.

Users who use BitLocker to protect the content of their personal files can also use File History as it seamlessly supports BitLocker on both source and destination drives.

For more information about File History, see also:

File History is turned off by default in Windows 8. This tutorial will show you how to set up and use the File History feature in Windows 8, Windows RT, Windows 8.1, and Windows RT 8.1.





OPTION ONE
To Configure an External Drive for File History in AutoPlay Notification

1. While connecting an external drive (ex: USB), click/tap on the AutoPlay notification if given, click/tap on Configure this drive for backup File History, and go to step 3 in OPTION THREE below. (see screenshot below)​
Recommend_File_History_Drive_Homegroup-1.jpg





OPTION TWO
To Set Up File History from PC settings in Windows 8.1


NOTE: This option is only available in Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1, and not in Windows 8 and Windows RT.
1. If not already, make sure that the network location or drive that you want to save your file history to is connected.​
2. Open PC settings, and click/tap on Update & recovery on the left side. (see screenshot below)​
PC_settings_File_History-1.jpg
3. Click/tap on File History on the left side of Update & recovery. (see screenshot below)​
PC_settings_File_History-2.jpg
4. To Select a Network or Local Drive Location to Save File History to
A) If the drive (ex: D: ) you want to use is already selected to be used by default, then go to step 4 below.​
B) Click/tap on Select a different drive. (see screenshot below step 3)​
C) Click/tap on the drive you want to save File History on. (see screenshot below)​
PC_settings_File_History-3.jpg
5. To Turn On or Off File History
A) Under File History, move the slider to the right to turn on and use File History. (see screenshot below)​
PC_settings_File_History-4.jpg
6. You will now notice File History backing up a copy of your files. (see screenshot above)​
7. When the backup is finished, you can click/tap on Back up now to manually back up a copy of your files at anytime. (see screenshot below)​
PC_settings_File_History-5.jpg
8. When finished, you can close PC settings if you like.​
9. If you would like to change your File History settings, then you can use step 6 or 7 in OPTION THREE below to do so.​





OPTION THREE
To Set Up File History from Control Panel

1. If not already, make sure that the network location or drive that you want to save your file history to is connected.​
2. Open the Control Panel (icons view), and click/tap on the File History icon.​
3. To Select a Network or Local Drive Location to Save File History to
A) If the drive (ex: D: ) you want to use is already selected to be used by default, then go to step 3D below.​
B) On the left side in File History, click/tap on Select drive. (see screenshot below)​
File_History_Select_Drive-1.jpg
C) Either select a drive or add a network location, and click/tap on OK. (see screenshot below)​
fh16.JPG
D) If prompted, click/tap on Yes to use the selected drive again for File History if it has been previously used before. (see screenshot below)​
File_History_Select_Drive-2.jpg
E) If prompted, click/tap on Yes or No to move any files previously copied using File History at other locations to the new selected drive. (see screenshot below)​
File_History_Select_Drive-3.jpg
F) File History will now be turned on automatically. Go to step 5 below.​
4. To Turn On or Off File History
A) In File History, click/tap on Turn On to use File History. (see screenshot below)​
File_History_Turn_On-1.jpg
5. Do step 6 and/or 7 below for what you would like to do.​
6. To Add or Remove Folders to be Excluded from File History
Note   Note
File History only saves copies of files that are in your libraries, contacts (C:\Users\(user-name)\Contacts), Internet Explorer favorites (C:\Users\(user-name)\Favorites), Microsoft SkyDrive(C:\Users\(user-name)\SkyDrive), and your desktop (C:\Users\(user-name)\Desktop).
Note   Note

If you have files or folders elsewhere that you want backed up, you can add them to one of your existing libraries or create a new library.​
A) On the left side in File History, click/tap on Exclude folders. (see screenshot below)​
File_History_Exclude_folders-1.jpg
B) To remove a folder to no longer be excluded from File History, select an excluded drive, folder, or library (ex: Videos library), and click/tap on Remove. (see screenshot below)​
File_History_Exclude_folders-2.jpg
C) To add a folder to be excluded from File History, click/tap on the Add button, navigate to and select either a drive, folder, library, an added folder in a library, or SkyDrive folder, and click/tap on Select Folder. (see screenshots above and below)​
File_History_Exclude_folders-3.jpg
D) When finished, click/tap on Save changes. (see screenshot below step 6B)​
7. To Set Offline Cache Size, and how Often and Long to Keep Files Saved by File History
A) On the left side in File History, click/tap on Advanced settings. (see screenshot below)​
File_History_Advanced_settings-1.jpg
B) In the Save copies of files drop down menu, select how often you want File History to save copies of your files to the selected drive. (see screenshot below)​
File_History_Advanced_settings-2.jpg
C) In the Size of offline cache drop down menu, select the maximum percentage of disk space the local File History cache can be that's used when the selected drive is not present. (see screenshot below)​
File_History_Advanced_settings-3.jpg
D) In the Keep saved versions drop down menu, select how long to keep saved versions of File History. (see screenshot below)​
Note   Note
The retention policy is only used when the selected storage drive is full, and not before that.
Note   Note

If your selected drive fills up, backup versions of your files that are older than the age specified by your retention policy in your Keep saved versions settings are deleted, but the most recent backup copy of each file is always retained regardless of its age.​
If you have sufficient disk space on the selected drive, File History will continue to save versions of files and folders on the selected drive as set in your advanced settings.​
If you are concerned about disk space on the selected drive, you can also manually clean up versions of older files and folders saved by File History.​
File_History_Advanced_settings-4.jpg
E) When finished, click/tap on Save changes. (see screenshot below)​
8. When finished, you can close File History.​



That's it.

Airbot


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Bill2

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#2
If you want to have a custom folder or file included in the file history backup, just add it to the appropriate library.
 

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kado897

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#3
If you want to have a custom folder or file included in the file history backup, just add it to the appropriate library.
It also works if you create a new library.
 

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mtibesar

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My File History external hard drive has ran out of space. It is a 320gb drive and I have about 90gb of files, pictures, videos, etc. So at this time I'm not sure where my storage space has gone. Anyone else experience this?
 

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kado897

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#5
Hi mtibesar and welcome to Eight Forums.

If you go into advanced setting for the file history you will see that by default it only allocates 5% of your disk space for history.

screenshot007.png
 

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mtibesar

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#6
I don't understand how File History works obviously.

I attempted to find a white-paper that would delineate specifically how this new feature works within Windows 8 but no luck yet.

I am assuming (probably erroneously) the following:

1.) Initially, when File History is turned on it copies all selected files to a folder called File History located on my blank external hard drive (320gb Western Digital).

2.) Then, on a 10-minute basis, it searches for files that have changed (edited documents; edited photos; etc.) and copies them to the File History folder with a new timestamp. By the way, I haven't updated many files since installing Windows 8.

3.) It then keeps these versions until it runs out of space. (which my external hard drive has done)

Yes, my offline cache is set to the default 5% of disk space but I don't really understand what this setting is for?

Since I have approximately a total of 90gb of documents, photos, videos, desktop, and favorites; why would my 320gb hard drive which was empty when I turned on File History, be full already?

I checked the File History log and it doesn't indicate any errors (i.e. ran out of disk space). In fact it has only two entries that are several days old - one being an open file it couldn't copy because another program had it open...)
 

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kado897

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#7
That was approximately my understanding of how it works although as with everything else in W8CP only MS really knows and it doesn't seem to come with any instructions.

As I understand it the 5% of your 350GB HDD (17.5GB) is the maximum that it will use. Obviously 90GB will not fit into this.

and FYI the default recheck time is 1hr. I changed mine as a test.
 

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mtibesar

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#8
I researched the contents of my File History's external hard drive and, now I know why my entire hard drive ran out of space! File History is making duplicate copies each day whether the file has changed or not. Wow! I looked in my Videos folder and I now have 4 to 5 copies of every video none of which I have updated.

I can't believe this is how Microsoft intended File History to work!

I don't think I can use this "feature" until this is resolved. I was thinking about installing an empty 2TB hard drive for my File History but as the program works now it would fill up a 2TB drive in no time!
 

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kado897

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#9
That is not how it's intended to work. It should hold one copy with the date and time appended to filename as in this shot from my pictures.

screenshot008.png
 

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mtibesar

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#10
Hello,

I am glad to hear it is working OK for you. However, mine is filled with duplicates (actually same file but with lots of different time stamps appended to them).

I believe there is a problem with the File system in the new Windows 8. I attached another USB drive in order to delete some old backups from it. It was an ordeal. I had to delete individual subfolders in order to delete the large folders. Since this is a beta I am going to repartition and reformat my system and reload Windows 7. There are just too many problems with my bare metal install of Windows 8 and I am pretty leary of it right now especially when it comes to deleting large folders on external usb drives. This is not to mention the problem I have with File History saving many versions of the all the files when they haven't changed.

Thanks for all you help by the way. I am hoping to use Windows 8 when it is released to manufacturing.

Cheers!
 

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kado897

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#11
No problem. Maybe you have something repeatedly changing the metadata on the videos.
 

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nigelr

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Dreadful apparent limitation with 'File History' and overcoming it
The apparent limitation is that File History will only save your Libraries, Desktop etc. If you keep documents etc. elsewhere then, at first glance, it's useless. (To many readers this will be screamingly obvious. Sorry! It's to save others, more like me, time scratching around).
The workaround is as follows:-
In short, your create a library that acts as a shortcut to your documents drive and subdirectory. Further libraries can be added to shortcut to your photos etc. etc.
The details are as follows. These apply to Windows 8 released and patched to August 2013, not Win8 Pro nor Windows 8.1.

http://www.eightforums.com/tutorials/12954-library-add-folder-windows-8-a.html

In File Explorer, highlight 'Libraries'
Use the menus: Home, New Item, Library, and type the name you want.
Double click the new library you've just created. Click on the 'Include a folder' button and browse to the folder you need.
Done!
Regards,
Nigel
 
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Dirty Butter

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#13
I have a 3TB external drive connected, with a large partition dedicated to File History. So I double checked and found what it should be - only copies when I know I made changes to files EXCEPT for some unexplained dated duplicates of photos. I checked, and the info on the photos is identical.

Would this be caused by removing the external drive, Windows caching File History on C, then moving to external when connected again?
 

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