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How To Enable Windows 8 File History

Windows 8 has a new feature called File History. It scans your system every hour for personal file changes and backs them up automatically. Here’s how to enable this important layer of data protection.

According to an article from Steven Sinofsky on the Building Windows 8 Blog:

File History is a backup application that continuously protects your personal files stored in Libraries, Desktop, Favorites, and Contacts folders. 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.

Enable File History in Windows 8

To use the File History feature, you’ll need a connected external or network drive. As with anything in Windows, there’s several different ways to get to it.

When you’re on the Metro Start screen, hit Windows Key + W to bring up Settings Search. Type: File History then select the icon under the results.
search File history Metro

Or, when you plug an external drive into your system, click the message that AutoPlay pops up.


Then select Configure this Drive for Backup File History.

choose File History autoplay

File History is off by default, but you’ll see your backup drive listed. Click Turn On.

File History Turn on

It will run a backup of all of your important data right away and will do that every hour by default. Or you can go back in and click Run Now.

Turned On

Under Advanced Settings you can control how often it scans your system for changes. You can select from every 10 minutes to everyday.

advanced settings

To add a network drive, click Select Drive. Then click Add Network Location and browse to the directory you want to back up to.

Network location listed

There’s quite a bit more you can do with this and I will be covering that in depth as our Windows 8 coverage continues. This is one of the first things you should turn on when you get a new Windows 8 computer this fall.

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