Backups are an essential part of any careful user’s routine. After all, there’s nothing quite like the horrific feeling when you realize that all your work, or precious memories, have just disappeared into the digital ether.
Here’s how you can protect your important files using Windows 10’s File History. This feature automatically saves specific file folders to backup devices, thus allowing you to recover a prior version of a file in case it goes missing or corrupted and unusable.
NOTE: First, make sure you have a viable external drive connected to your PC. This could be a USB stick, a full-fledged USB drive, or a network location on a NAS (Network Attached Storage) drive.
STEP 1: On your Windows 10 PC, click the Start button, then click on Settings.
STEP 2: Click on the Update & security category, then click on Backup.
STEP 3: Look under the Back up using File History section, then click on Add a drive.
NOTE: Assuming that you have connected to a workable backup device, Windows will display a list of all such locales.
STEP 4: Select your preferred backup location from the list.
STEP 5: Next, click on the More options link.
STEP 6: Scroll down the Backup options window, then review the list of default folders already included in the backup.
STEP 7: Select any folder you do not want to back up, and then click the Remove button.
STEP 8: Scroll back up to the top of the window, then click the Add a folder button.
STEP 9: From File Explorer, select any folders not included in the backup that you want to add.
STEP 10: At the top of the File History window, click on the drop-down menu under Back up my files, then choose how frequently you wish to back up your files.
STEP 11: Next, click the drop-down menu under Keep my backups, then choose how long you wish to retain your backed up files.
STEP 12: Click the Back up now button and Windows will start backing up files included in your backup set.
NOTE: Once your backup is finished, Windows will display the total size and the date and time of the backup.
If your important file has gone missing or got corrupted, you need to look for a prior version. Proceed to the next steps.
STEP 13: Scroll down to the bottom of the File History window, then click on the link that says Restore files from a current backup.
NOTE: Windows will display all the folders that have been backed up via File History page by page. So you may need to scroll to a previous page in order to find the file you’re looking for.
STEP 14: Once you reached the page that you assume contains the file you’re looking for, double-click on its folder.
NOTE: If you see the file, you can double-click on it to view it, assuming it’s a viewable file.
STEP 15: If it’s the file that you’re looking for, click on the green button with the white arrow at the bottom of the window to restore it.
NOTE: If the file exists in its original location, Windows will ask you whether you would like to replace it, skip it, or compare both files. If the original file is gone, Windows will automatically restore it to its previous location.