How to Use Windows 10’s File History as a Backup Tool

Use Windows 10’s File History as a Backup Tool
By Tapas Pal Updated

If you are here, you most probably are going through the regret of losing data which you deleted earlier and is looking for some sort of backup solution to get it back. Many Windows 10 and Windows  8 users might not know this but they are given an inbuilt facility called File History using which they can restore their deleted content anytime.

How does  File History Of Windows 10’s works?

You can easily backup all your personal data using this fully featured backup tool. It mainly works using the snapshots of important files and folders which it stores on an external storage say hard drive. You can recover these files and folders anytime even if you have deleted them from your system. This Windows 10 File History tool saves multiple versions of the same file to an easily accessible location such that you can restore it just by going back in time.

This tool along with the Windows Backup and Restore option, serves as the basic defense line-up to save your important files and folders from any sudden catastrophic change. With both these facilities, you can immediately backup your entire computer using the system image which is created with time.

The changes in Windows 8 File History to serve Windows 10 backup

This tool was initially given in Windows 8 which with its improved interface and features took Windows 10 by storm in terms of backing up the data. Now (opposed to in Windows 8) you can choose specific folders to backup in Windows 10. It can backup your desktop, documents, music, folders (also the One Drive ones) and other related files with absolutely zero hassle.

It auto-detects any changes done to the original document and at the same time creates multiple versions of the original file on the hard drive.

Steps to Enable File History in Windows 10

Note: Make sure that you have an external hard drive to use it as a space for the backup data.

Method1: Directly from the Start Menu

Step1: Go to the Start menu and open Settings. Click Update and Security and then Backup option from the list.

Step2: Click the Add a drive option lying under Backup using File History. This will add an external space/ drive where File history will allocate the backed up data. (You can select any drive from the list as well to have backup wherever you want.

Method2: Using Control Panel

You can access File History tool from your Control Panel as well. How? Keep reading

Step1: Go to the Control Panel and click System and Security. Select File History from there.

Step2: Select a drive where you want your backup. The File History tool would automatically detect this and would turn on the Automatically back up my files option for you.

That’s it, the File History would automatically back up any changed or deleted data whenever you connect the selected hard drive to your computer.

Configuring File History in Windows 10

Step1: Select More Options from under the Backup using File History section.

Step2: Configure it as per your needs.

You can change things like the backup time (which is 1 hour by default), files to backup and for how long you want to keep the backup from here. You can delete your backup anytime to free space on your File History drive. This space can be utilized to backup more important files and folders this way.

File History by default is set to backup documents, downloads, Music, Pictures and other files to the user account’s folder. Select Add a folder option to add folders whose backup you want compulsorily.

  • Exclude these folders section:

This section allows to you exclude certain specific subfolders from being backed up. Just select the folder you want to exclude and the system would back up all the remaining subfolders from the folder you choose.

  • Backup to a different drive section

Click Stop using Drive option to change the drive where you want to have all the backup. This will stop the present drive to be backed up and you can thereafter select a new one for the same purpose. The previously backed up data won’t be deleted, it’d remain intact even after changing the drive. It’s just that the future backup drive is specified with this action.

  • The advanced Settings Section

Click See advanced settings link and you’ll be taken to the Control Panel where you can configure File History in the same way but with a different interface.
Here, you’ll find more options to configure File history like the ability to view errors in the Event Viewer or to use other computers (which are a part of your homegroup) to back up your drive.

Restoring Files from the backup

Follow the steps given below to restore your files from the backup.

Step 1: Go to Settings app from the Start menu and select Update & Security.

Step2: Click Backup> More options> Restore files from a current backup (at the bottom).
Step1: Open Control panel and select System and Security from there.

Step2: Select File History and Click Restore personal files.

Step3: Here in this interface, you can see all your backups and the restored files. Just select one or more of these files, right click on them and tap the green button to restore them to your computer.

In case you have the backups which you created on another computer, just set up File History on the current device. Choose the drive where all the data was backed up. Doing this you can restore all those files which you once restored on some other device again on your current device.

Restoring Files from the File Explorer:

Step1: Open File Explorer and select the file you want to restore by right-clicking it.

Step2: Click Restore previous versions from the menu (obtained after right-clicking the file).

To check the available previous versions of the file, select Properties and then go to the Previous Versions tab. Just check the file you want back and simply restore it anywhere you want.

Step3: To check the deleted files from a specific folder, Go to File explorer and click Home tab from there (at upper right corner). Click History. You’ll be shown a list of files which used to exist in the same folder (along with its previous versions). Just restore them to use them back as per your needs.


Using File History in Windows 10 is the easiest of all the other third-party backup tools available in the market. It’s absolutely free and requires just 15 minutes to set up. You thereafter can use it anytime you want to recover any file, no matter if it’s a document or a video file. This, however, is not the only solution to back up, as more effective backup tools are also available. But the fact that it includes zero hassle makes it the simplest of all.

So I hope this article helped you in how you can setup and use the Windows 10 File History tool. Like and share this article to help more looking for solutions to the same problem. Post your queries to help up improve our articles to simplify things further.