Windows 8 has a built-in, continuous backup tool. Called File History, its closest analog is Mac OS X’s Time Machine. The basic function of File History is to periodically back up your Libraries (your documents, music, pictures, videos) to another hard drive. These backed up files are saved as versions, which you can easily browse through and restore with a couple of clicks.
The target hard drive can be an external drive, a network share , or a Storage Space (Windows 8′s new RAID tool). The key here is that File History cannot create backups on the source drive; this is Microsoft’s way of ensuring users actually create safe backups.
Here is how to use File History :
In the Metro Start Screen, type “backup” and then select Settings from the right-hand menu. Click the first result and the File History applet will pop up ( you can also open File History from the standard Desktop Control Panel).
Click Select Drive on the left-hand side, and then select a hard drive (or network location) with lots of empty space. Click OK, then simply click “Turn on.” That’s it — your documents are now being backed up. To check out your version history — to restore a backup — click the History button in the Explorer ribbon menu.
By default, File History backs up a version of your files every hour. If you head into Advanced Settings, you can change this to a value between “Every 10 minutes” and Daily; You can also alter how long versions are kept for; Forever is the default, but shorter periods are available (probably advisable, if you make constant revisions to large files, such as Photoshop PSDs). The size of the offline cache can also be altered slightly (the offline cache is used if you disconnect the external hard drive, or you’re not plugged into the network).
Microsoft says that it has done a lot of work to ensure that File History doesn’t steal CPU or IO cycles from other programs; it only backs up files when nothing else is running, or there’s plenty of spare processor and I/O capacity. When File History is idle, it apparently only uses 10MB of RAM.
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