File History is an incremental backup tool that was originally introduced in Windows 8. It saves multiple copies of your personal files to an external or networked hard drive, so if you accidentally delete a file – a document, photo or video, say – from your PC, you can use this tool to recover the missing item. More importantly, if you make a change to a file that you later regret, and need to revert to a previous version, you can use File History to restore it. The tool is disabled by default in Windows 10, so you’ll have to turn it on before you can use it. There are some limitations to be aware of, too. By default, File History only backs up copies of files that are in the Documents, Music, Pictures, Videos, Desktop and OneDrive folders. The OneDrive option only backs up the files that are synced locally, not everything that’s saved in your cloud storage. If you want to back up files that are kept in a different location, you’ll need add that folder yourself. We’ll show you how to set up File History in our Mini Workshop, opposite. Restore a previous version from File History Once you’ve set up File History and it’s backing up your files, there are a couple of ways you can restore them. From the Backup Settings menu, click ‘More options’ under File History and scroll down to the bottom of the screen. Click the link to ‘Restore files from a current backup’ and select the items to restore. Another option is to right-click the file you want to access a previous version of, then select Properties from the menu. Click the Previous Versions tab at the top, then select the version you want. You can either open the file or restore it. There are down arrows next to both buttons that let you ‘Open in File History’ or ‘Restore To…’ The latter lets you select a custom location. Create a backup of your files File History is the primary way to back up and restore files in Windows 10, but it’s not your only option. The backup tool that Microsoft introduced in Windows 7 is still available in Windows 10, and it’s a capable option that works well. You can use this to back up your files to a local or networked drive, and choose exactly what to include. The tool, called ‘Back up and Restore (Windows 7)’, is tucked away in the Windows Control Panel.
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Press Windows+X, choose Control Panel, ‘System and Security’, then ‘Back up and Restore’. Once the tool is configured, you can use it to create new backups and restore files from previous ones. We show you how to use it in our Mini Workshop on page 61. Creating a Desktop shortcut provides quick and convenient access to the tool. Click ‘System and Security’ and rightclick ‘Back up and Restore (Windows 7)’. Select the option at the bottom to ‘Create shortcut’. A message pops up announcing that Windows can’t create a shortcut there, and offers you the chance to place it on the Desktop instead. Click Yes. You can now launch the tool whenever you need to. Rightclicking the new shortcut will let you pin a copy to the Quick Access and Start menus. Launching the ‘Back up and Restore (Windows 7)’ tool displays an option on the left to ‘Create a system image’. To create a shortcut to this option, right-click the Desktop and select New, Shortcut. The Create Shortcut wizard will launch. In the ‘Type the location of the item’ box, enter sdclt.exe /BLBBACKUPWIZARD. Click Next and name the shortcut ‘Create System Image’. Click Finish to complete the wizard and the shortcut will appear on your Desktop.
You’ll love what you see in Windows 10