How to back up your computer using Windows 8 File History

Since the introduction of Windows 8 many people have been asking me how to back up their computer.

It’s very important to have a back up of your material so that in the event that you have a computer failure, then you haven’t lost everything!

Many times I have had to advise a client of the sad news that all their data including precious photos from years past, have been lost due to a hard drive failure. This can be easily prevented by doing a weekly or monthly back up or your material. My philosophy is ‘its better to have three copies of one photo, then none at all’.

Prior to Windows 8, you could back up documents and files using the Backup and Restore feature available in the Control Panel | Backup and Restore in Windows 7. Windows 8 has enhanced the back up feature and renamed it File History, as shown in the screenshot below.

‘File History’ automatically backs up files that are in your document, music, and video libraries, contacts, favourites, and your desktop.

Before you set up your back up, I would suggest you buy an external hard drive to use only for backing up your cmoputer. A Terabyte hard drive may set you back between $100 and $140. Once you plug it in, await for a notification asking if you want to ‘Configure this drive’ it will then use the drive for ‘File History’, tap or click it, and then turn on ‘File History ‘on the screen that appears after this:

Otherwise, swipe in from the right edge of the screen, to open the ‘Charm Bar’, and click on the ‘Settings’ icon then then tap  or click on the ‘Search Bar’.
Then type in ‘File History’ in the search box, and then tap or click ‘File History’ settings that pops up on the left hand results section of the screen.

Tap or click ‘Select a drive’, and choose the external drive you want to use, then click to Turn on the ‘File History’.

Once the ‘File History’ is set up properly, the backup task should work behind the scenes. And you can find and locate the files from the backup folder on the drive ‘File History’ by default.

If you disconnect the external drive, the backup task is automatically stopped. Once you reconnect the back up drive ‘File History’ will continue backing up from where it left off.

It’s as easy as that, and it will save you so much anguish if something goes wrong with your computer.

As always, if you have any troubles with setting up your back up, or have some questions or would like me to come out and set it up for you. You can always get in touch with me on or 1300 682 817.

Many Thanks, Nathan

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