Windows 8’s File History replaces Windows 7’s Windows Backup. Microsoft re-designed Windows’ backup features because less than 5% of PCs used Windows Backup. The new File History system is designed to be simple to set up and work automatically in the background.
Only Files in Libraries Can Be Backed Up
With Windows 7, you can backup any files on your computer – not only personal files, but program files, system files, and anything else. You can also create full system images that can be used to restore your computer to its current state in the future.
You cannot create full system images in Windows 8 and you cannot backup everything on your hard drive. You can only backup files in your libraries, files on your desktop, your contacts, and your browser favorites. Windows 8’s File History feature is designed to protect users’ personal files, which are generally irreplaceable.
File History is designed to backup your files on a continuous basis, so you can easily revert to a previous version of a file or restore a deleted file. This also minimizes data loss.
When setting up a backup with Windows 7’s Windows Backup, the default schedule is to run a backup once per month. When setting up a backup in Windows 8, the default is a continuous backup that automatically takes a snapshot of the latest versions of your files every hour.
Easier Restoring From Backup
File History incorporates the Previous Versions feature in Windows 7, which allows you to quickly restore previous versions of a file. Restoring files from File History is a similar experience. You can do it right from File Explorer (formerly known as Windows Explorer) by just clicking the History button on the ribbon.
When you connect an external hard drive, you’ll be asked whether you want to use it for backup. You can no longer use an internal drive for backups, you’ll need an external drive or network location. This helps enforce good backup practice, because there’s no sense backing up your files to another partition on the same hard disk; you’ll lose everything if the hard disk fails.
When setting up File History, you can optionally advertise your backup drive as a backup drive for your HomeGroup. All Windows 8 computers in your HomeGroup can backup their files to this location, making it easy to setup a centralized backup location.
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