Using File History in Windows 8 to backup your files to network storage

by Shijaz Abdulla on 14.12.2012 at 20:35

Update: The File History feature is available on Windows RT and Surface RT devices too. You also have the option of using the built-in microSD card on your Surface device.

I have an Iomega Network Attached Storage (NAS) at home that I use to keep backup copies of all my data. The NAS comes with bundled software named Iomega QuikProtect that automatically copies my data to the NAS whenever it changes.

After I upgraded to Windows 8, I noticed the Iomega QuikProtect is not compatible with Windows 8. After a while of trawling the iomega forums, I discovered that Iomega has confirmed that their QuickProtect software is not compatible with Windows 8 and that they will not be building a version that is compatible with Windows 8.

They (and I) recommend using the new File History feature in Windows 8 instead. File History, once set up, automatically saves copies of your files to a network location or external drive. You can use the same tool to restore your files from the saved location.

Here’s how to setup File History on Windows 8:

  1. Open Control Panel > System and Security > File History.

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  2. Choose Use network location and select the share on your NAS that you want to use for saving your data. If you have an external hard drive, you can choose that instead.

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  3. Within moments, you are ready to backup your stuff to the specified location. You can click Turn On and the process will start. You can also check the options to see if you want to change the defaults.

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  4. Click Advanced Settings to set up how often version copies should be made, size of the offline cache and how long the saved versions should be kept.

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  5. You can also choose the Exclude Folders option to prevent certain folders from being copied. This is especially useful if you use Hyper-V on Windows 8 and you do not want the *.vhdx files to be copied over.
  6. When you’re ready, click the Turn On button and watch your files getting copied over. The location is usually “\\fileshare\<user_sign-in_name@domain.com>\<computer_name>\

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You can also troubleshoot File History from the Windows Event Viewer. Look under Applications and Services Logs > Microsoft > Windows > FileHistory-Engine