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How to Set Up a Windows 8 File History Drive

File History is a feature in Windows 8 that backs up files stored in your libraries, contacts, favourites, SkyDrive and desktop automatically. This is very handy because if ever the originals are accidentally deleted or lost due to data corruption then you can restore them. You can also recover different versions of your files from varying points in time. You essentially have a complete file history of everything, tracking every change to them.
Enabling File History is simple, but before you go about doing that you first need to set up a drive to be used. This guide will talk you through that process.
It is recommended that you use an external drive or network location as your drive for File History. If your hard drive crashes then there is no point having the backups stored there. This is because the originals and the copies will likely both be damaged. Picking up an external hard drive is relatively cheap and they can come in handy for transporting data too.
Before beginning, bear in mind that File History only saves copies of the files from designated places. If you want files or folders elsewhere to be backed up, either add them to an existing library or create a new one.
Firstly, let’s look at how to set up an external drive. Attach the drive to your computer and then open File History. To do this, point the cursor to the upper-right hand corner of the screen and click ‘Search’ (if using touch, swipe in from the right edge of the screen and tap ‘Search’). In the search box type ‘File History’, select ‘Settings’ and then select ‘File History’. Now you just need to select ‘Turn on’.
If you have AutoPlay enabled then this will pop up when you attach the drive. If so, all you need to do is just select ‘Back up your files on this drive’ from that notification window.
Secondly, let’s look at setting up a network location. Follow the instructions above to access the File History tool. However, instead of selecting ‘Turn on’ you need to choose ‘Change drive’. A page will open called ‘Change your File History drive’ and here you need to select ‘Add network location’. In the ‘Select Folder’ dialog box that opens, browse or enter a location, choose ‘Select folder’ and then ‘OK’.
You may not see any folders listed and with an alert at the top saying that network computers and devices are not visible. If this is the case, select the notification and then choose ‘Turn on network discovery and file sharing’.
Hopefully this guide has helped you to use the File History tool. Remember, you can chose how often files are copied and how long old versions are kept in order to stop the File History drive filling up with too much data. You can also exclude certain folders from backing up by going to the File History tool, selecting ‘Exclude folders’ and then ‘Add’. From here you will be able to select those you wish to leave out from backup.


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