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What Is File History and How to Enable File History Windows 10

What is file history in Windows 10? How to enable Windows 10 file history? This post shows you the step-by-step guides to turn on file history on Windows 10. Besides, you can also learn how to restore files from Windows backup.

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Table of Contents

What Is File History Windows 10

Windows 10 File History is a backup utility that continuously saves and protects personal files on the Desktop, Documents, Videos, and Downloads folders. It scans regularly (once every hour by default) for changes in the file system and copies the changed files to another location.

Whenever any of your personal files is changed, a copy of it will be stored on the dedicated internal or external hard drive. Over time, the File History will establish a complete history of changes made to any personal file.

1. File History on Windows 10 only backs up copies of files in the Documents, Music, Pictures, Videos, and Desktop folders and the OneDrive files available offline on your PC. Other files, such as operating system files, applications, and Settings, will not be backed.
2. If you have other files or folders that you want back up, you can add them to one of the supported folders.

How to Enable File History Windows 10

How to turn on File History in Windows 10? Follow these step-by-step guides.

Step 1. Click the Windows "Start" button. Then, go to "Settings > Update & Security".

find update and security

Step 2. Click "Backup > Add a drive". Then, choose a local or an external hard drive as the destination. You can even use a network location as the File History backup drive. 

turn on file history - 1

How to Configure Windows 10 File History

After selecting a drive to back up files, you can configure more backup Settings. 

Step 1. Click the "More options" under "Add a drive".

Step 2. On the Backup options screen, you can set the frequency of backup. You can set how often File History backs up your files by choosing an option from "Back up my files". You can also click "Keep my backups" to decide how long to save backups. 

configure backup settings

Step 3. Under Back up these folders, click "Add a folder" to back up more folders in addition to Desktop, Pictures, Documents, Downloads, Videos, etc.

choose a folder to back up

Step 4. Under Exclude these folders, you can also remove the folders you don't need to back up by clicking "Add a folder".

exclusive a folder to back up

After these settings, Windows 10 File History will start to back up your data automatically. 

How to Restore Files from Windows 10 File History in 2 Ways

When you need to restore deleted or lost files from Windows backup, here are two ways to do it. 

1. Restore Files from File History Window

Step 1. Click the Search box and type file history. Click "Restore your files from File history" from the search results.

type file history

Step 2. Then, you will go to the File History window. You can see all the backup files there. Choose the one you need to restore and preview it.

If there are multiple backup versions, you can switch to a different backup version by clicking the left and right arrows at the bottom of the window. You can also search directly in the search box to quickly find files.

preview files in File History backup

Step 3. Select the files you want to restore, and then click the green arrow to restore the files.  You can click the gear icon near the upper right corner of the window and select "Restore to" to save the file to a customized path. 

restore files from file history

Step 4. If there is a naming conflict when you restore files, you can choose "Replace the File in the Destination Folder", "Skip This File", or "Compare Info for Both Files".

replace or skip files

2. Restore Files from Previous Versions Option

Another way to restore files from Windows 10 file backup is by applying the "Restore previous version" feature.

Step 1. Go to find the folder that contains the lost files. Right-click it, then select "Restore previous versions".

select restore previous versions

Step 2. On the Properties window, you can see all the available backup versions. Select a backup file and click the "Restore" button to restore files.

restore files from previous versions

How to Recover Deleted Files When There Is No Backup File from File History

Some users reported that they encountered there are no previous version available problem even they have enabled the Windows protection.

In this case, how to recover deleted or lost files without backups? No worry. You can use an advanced file recovery software - EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard.

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard

  • Recover deleted or permanently deleted photos, videos,  documents, emails, etc. effectively
  • Repair corrupted photos, videos, and documents automatically
  • Restore files on Windows 10/8/7/Vista/XP, Windows Server, and macOS 11.2 ~ 10.9
 Download for Win Recovery Rate 99.7%
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Now, free download this professional data recovery software to help you restore deleted files with ease.

Step 1. Choose the exact file location and then click the "Scan" button to continue.

select the location to scan for deleted files

Step 2. After the process, select the "Deleted Files" and "Other Lost Files" folders in the left panel. Then, you can apply the "Filter" feature or click the "Search files or folders" button to find the deleted files.

check the results

Step 3. Click the "Recover" button and save the restored files – ideally, it should be different from the original one.

recover deleted files

To Sum Up

Windows 10 File History is a very easy and useful backup tool for users to protect any important files. And it's 100% free. You can also create a Windows 10 system image by using the Windows backup feature. With these two backup options enabled, you can quickly get back to work from a restore point if your computer encounters a system crash or file loss.

If you haven't turned on any backup feature and want to retrieve deleted, formatted, or corrupted files, stop using your computer and immediately use EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard. EaseUS data recovery software can restore hundreds of lost files in various data loss situations.

 Download for Win Recovery Rate 99.7%
 Download for Mac Trustpilot Rating 4.4

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Updated by Brithny

Brithny is a technology enthusiast, aiming to make readers' tech life easy and enjoyable. She loves exploring new technologies and writing technical how-to tips. On her spare time, she loves sharing things about her favorite singer - Taylor Swift on her Facebook or Twitter.

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Written by Cedric

Cedric Grantham is one of the senior editors of EaseUS who lives and works in Chengdu, China. He mainly writes articles about data recovery tutorials on PC and Mac and how-to tips for partition management. He always keeps an eye on new releases and likes various electronic products.

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