Keep in mind that File History only makes copies of documents and other files that are located in your libraries, contacts, favorites, and on your desktop. This means that if you have any important data elsewhere and you want them to be backed up with this feature, you’ll need to move that data to one of the locations that I just mentioned. In the contrary to what is recommended using “Previous versions”, Microsoft recommends to use an external drive or network location (must be available all times a new copy needs to be made) to help keep your data safer from crashes, data loss, or any other problem that may occur in your system when using File History.

Setting up File History in Windows 8 using an external drive

  1. Connect an external drive to your computer (e.g., Flash drive, external USB hard drive, or a secondary hard drive installed in your system could also work).

  2. From the Start Screen type File History, click on Settings, and from the left select File History.

  3. Once in File History, if the drive you want to use isn’t showing up in the main screen — where it says: Copy files  to: –.

From the left menu, click Change drive, select the appropriate drive, and then click OK.

  1. Now just click the Turn on button and you are all set. If you get the message: “Do you want to recommend this drive to other members of your homegroup?”, just click No for the time being. But if your computer is part of a homegroup and center of all the computers, you may want to consider to click Yes — Note that you can change this setting at any time.

Once you answer the question, File History will turn on and a copy will immediately start.

Setting up File History in Windows 8 using a network location (shared folder)

To configure File History on a network location is very similar to the previous steps.

  1. Follow steps 1, 2, and 3 from the previous guide, but in step 3 when you are in the Change drive window, click on Add network location instead.

  2. Browse or type the path for the shared folder in the network — it is assumed that the network location is properly configured and it has the sufficient rights to write data to that folder –, click Select folder and then click OK.

File History — Advanced Settings configuration

File History is a really powerful feature that now is included in Windows 8. Out of the box, the default configurations are more than enough for the average user, but for those who really like to take control, Microsoft also added various configuration settings and you can access them from the left menu, and by clicking Advanced Settings. There you’ll find three sections:

Versions: Allows you to change how often files are copied and for how long versions of files are kept, and it expands the disk space that the feature uses as cache. HomeGroup: Windows 8 will also permit you to share the drive, which you configured as the location to store your history files with the option “Recommend this drive”. Event logs: This option may not seem like much, but this is a really, really useful tool in Windows to track events or errors to troubleshoot problems.

How to exclude folders from File History If you have a large amount of data in your libraries, desktop, contacts, and in the favorites’ folder and the target drive or network location has a limited amount of space. You can use the option from the left menu, called Exclude folders to set which folders are not going to be backed up in the process — of course, that you want to exclude folders that do not contain anything that you consider important.

You are now done learning all the configuration aspects of the new Windows 8 File History. In the next article you’ll learn how to restore files that you may accidentally deleted, overwritten or any other problem. All content on this site is provided with no warranties, express or implied. Use any information at your own risk. Always backup of your device and files before making any changes. Privacy policy info.