How to enable File History and Restore Data in Windows 8

File History is a great way of making a automatic backup of a file or folders in Windows 8, and use it to restore them when you need it. When configured, Windows 8 can maintain File History of Documents, Music, Pictures, Videos, and Desktop folders and even the OneDrive files. This feature also keeps the different versions of the file or folders along with the date info, so that you know which version you want to restore when you originals are lost or corrupted.

file history windows 8

File History can be enabled only when you select an externally connected drive, such as a USB drive, or a drive on a network. This is absolutely sensible because if the originals are corrupted due some reason like virus attack, there is no point in keeping the backup copies in the same hard disk environment, as they may get corrupt too. We shall break the article into two sections, one to explain how to enable File History, and other to know how to restore files from the file history backup.

Set up a drive for File History

You need to have a external hard disk, USB drive, or a network drive connected to your PC. In the desktop mode of Windows 8, move the mouse to the top right corner, to launch the charms window. In the search box, type File History, and select File History Settings from the list.

file history-1

Turn the File History slider to ON position. By default Windows will select one drive. You can change the drive anytime by clicking on “Select a different drive” link. If the network drive you want isn’t in the list of available drives, click “Show all network locations”. If it isn’t showing up here either, open File History via Control Panel, click Add a network location, and follow the on-screen instructions.


file history-2

Windows will automatically backup your files.

Restore files or folders using File History

Now that you have configured Windows 8’s File History, the next thing you should know is how to use these backups to restore files and folders.

From the desktop mode of Windows 8, move the mouse to the top right corner, to launch the charms window. In the search box, type Restore your files, and select Restore your files with File History from the list.

file history-3

Now enter the name of file you want to restore in the search box. You can also browse through different versions of your folders and files. Select the one you want to restore to its original location, and then click the “Restore” button. For some reason, if you wish to restore your files to a different location than the original, right-click the “Restore” button, click “Restore To”, and then choose a new location.

Kiran Kumar

Hi there! Kiran Kumar is an Engineer by profession, and loves blogging primarily on Microsoft Windows operating system and also enjoys reviewing software and products. Currently, he is exploring Windows 10 and you will see a lot of articles on know-how about it. When he is not writing for TWP, he enjoys time with his Family, listens to lot of music, enjoys Biking, and occasionally plays racing games on Xbox One.