The File History feature in Windows 10 is an easy, set it and forget it way to back up data. After you set it up on your desktop or laptop computer, it automatically backs up a variety of folders, including Documents, Contacts, and Pictures. You can customize what File History backs up by adding or excluding folders.

File History stores the backups locally. These backups are convenient if you accidentally delete a file or folder, or want to restore a previous version of a file. You can restore an entire folder, as well as single and multiple files.

Implementing an IT System That Meets Your Expectations

Note that if your computer gets infected with a certain type of malware called ransomware, all your local backup files could get encrypted. If you do not have offsite backups, you could lose all your data. That is why it is very important to make sure you also have a professional backup solution in place in addition to using Windows File History.

Restoring a Folder

Restoring a folder from a backup is simple. For example, suppose you notice that a folder named “Business Presentations” is missing from your Documents folder. You probably accidentally deleted it, but you are not sure when that happened. To restore the folder and all its contents, follow these steps:

  1. Type “restore” in Windows 10’s search box and then click “Restore your files with File History” in the search results.
  2. The File History window will open, displaying all of the backed up folders. Double-click the Documents folder.
  3. By default, the File History window displays the contents of the most recent backup of the Documents folder. Check to see whether the Business Presentations folder is in that backup. If not, use the left arrow button at the bottom of the window to scroll through older backups. Clicking the right arrow button will take you to more recent backups if you go back too far. When you find the most recent version of the Business Presentations folder, check the box next to it.
  4. Click the green restore button. After the folder is restored, File Explorer will open and display the restored Business Presentations folder.
  5. Close the File History window.

Restoring a File through File Explorer

In Windows 10, File Explorer includes a “History” option that you can use to access backed up folders and files. For instance, suppose you made some changes to the “Sales Summary” report in the Documents folder, but a few days later you decide that you like the old version better. To restore an older version of the file through File Explorer, follow these steps:

  1. In File Explorer, open the Documents folder by double-clicking it.
  2. Check the box next to the “Sales Summary” report.
  3. On the Home tab in the ribbon, click the “History” option to open the File History window.
  4. Find the version of the file you want to restore by using the right and left arrow buttons. The report’s contents will be displayed, so you will be able to tell whether it is the version you want.
  5. After you find the desired version of the report, click the restore button.
  6. Because the Documents folder already contains a file named “Sales Summary”, a box will pop up letting you know about this issue. It will give you three options:
    • “Replace the file in the destination”: Click this option if you want to replace the old version of the report with the version you are restoring. After the file is restored, File Explorer will open and display the restored file.
    • “Skip this file”: Select this option if you decide not to restore the file. This option sends you back to the File History window.
    • “Compare info for both files”: Choose this option if you want to keep both the existing file and the one you are restoring. Clicking this option opens another box that shows the last modified date and size of each file. You can choose to keep the existing file, the backed up file, or both by checking the boxes next to them. Afterward, click the “Continue” button. If you chose to keep both files, File Explorer will open and display both files after the restoration is complete. The restored report will be named “Sales Summary (2)”.
  7. Close the File History window.

Restoring a Group of Files

You can restore more than one file at a time. However, the files need to originate from the same folder. Plus, you need to restore the files from the same backup. For example, suppose you deleted last year’s “Sales by Month” and “Sales by Quarter” spreadsheets from the Documents folder at the beginning of the month. Now you want to restore the spreadsheets so that you can use them as a template for this year’s reports. Follow these steps:

  1. Type “restore” in Windows 10’s search box and then click “Restore your files with File History” in the search results.
  2. Double-click the Documents folder in the File History window.
  3. Find the last backup that contains both the “Sales by Month” and “Sales by Quarter” spreadsheets. Check the boxes next to those files.
  4. Click the restore button. After the files are restored, File Explorer will open and display them in the Documents folder.
  5. Close the File History window.

A Good Supplemental Backup Tool

With File History, backing up and restoring the files and folders on your own computer is easy. You should also consider setting up File History on your employees’ computers. That way, your employees can restore their own files, which can be a timesaver for the person responsible for backups.

In addition to using File History, Microsoft recommends that businesses perform complete computer backups. That way, you can restore a computer’s entire system if needed. While File History backs up the user’s data, it does not back up the operating system, applications, and systems settings. We can help you set up a comprehensive backup solution that will fully protect your business’s computer systems and data.