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How to Create a File History Backup in Windows 10

File History is a built-in backup tool introduced in Windows 8, allowing you to recover files that might have been accidentally deleted or to restore a modified document to an earlier version. It's basically like Apple's Time Machine, but it works for Windows.

Backing up files is a critical task when you are performing a Windows 10 refresh or reset. This action prevents you from experiencing the pain of losing data. All you need is a USB flash drive or a valid network shared or network attached drive.

Here's how to create a File History Backup in Windows 10.

1. Turn on File History Backup

File History is turned off by default. To begin, connect your external drive.

Then, open PC Settings from the Start menu and click Update & Security. Click on Backup tab on the left pane, then select Add a drive and you will see a list of available drives displays on the left. Click the one you want to use.

Click on Add a drive

Once you select a drive, Windows automatically turns on File History. If not you may need to turn it on in the Control Panel.

Turn on File History

Now you can select More Options to configure how often File History backs up, how long it keeps backup copies.

Click the More Options

Select options from the Back up my files and Keep my backups drop-down lists.

Under the Back up these folders option, click Add a folder. Select those folders that you want to back up. File history automatically adds certain folders to the backup. You can delete folders that you do not want to back up before starting the backup process. Under the Back up these folders, select the folder you do not want to back up and click Remove. Repeat this for each folder you want to delete.

When you ready to start the backup process, click Back up now.

Configure backup options

2. Back Up to a Network Location

You can select to save backups to an internal hard drive, externally connected drive ( USB drive), or you can save to a drive on a network. Here's how:

Open the Control Panel, click System & Security > File History.

Click on File History

Click Select drive in the right panel of the File History screen.

Select drive

On the Select a File History drive screen, you'll see local and network drives listed. If you don't see the network drive you want to use, click Add a network location and select it.

Add a network location

By default, file history is turned off, after selecting the drive, click the "Turn on" button and the process will start automatically.

Click turn on

If you have enabled the Automatically back up my files before, click Run now under your selected drive.

Click Run Now

If you want to change the location to store your backups, select a drive that you want and then click OK.

Select a file history drive

File History will now create a new backup version of your files from your added folders.

File History is saving copies of files

You can stop the file history feature by clicking the Stop link. And you can configure important options of File History, like Restore personal files from Backups.