How To Enable File History in Windows 10

Windows 10 includes a handy feature called File History that lets you backup data stored in default Windows folders such as Desktop, Documents, Pictures and so on. It’s certainly worth to enable File History in Windows 10 especially since you can select the drive where the backups should be stored.

You can think of File History as Windows 10’s backup system for locally storing copies of your important files and folders. However, it can be used for other purposes such as transferring files between two PCs or backing up your files to an external drive.

How to enable File History in Windows 10

Before anything else, you should know that in order to benefit from File History it is required to use the NTFS file system since it relies on NTFS’s journal feature to monitor file changes.

With that said, here’s how you can enable File History in Windows 10:

Enable File History via Control Panel

enable File History in Windows 10

Open the Control Panel app and navigate to System and Security -> File History. Click “Turn on” to enable File history.

You can change the drive where File History should save your backups by clicking on the “Select drive” link.

You can also click the “Exclude folders” link to select the folders for which File History shouldn’t create backups. Just click the “Add” button for each folder you want to add to the list.

The “Advanced settings” window lets you customize the behavior of File History. Specifically, you can select how often should Windows back up your files and for how long the older files should be stored.

Also, the “Restore personal files” option lets you browse through previous versions of your files and select the ones you want to restore.

If you are using an external removable drive for File History that’s not connected when a file is changed, its backup will be cached on your local drive. When you connect the external drive again File History will move the cached contents to the File History drive.

Enable File History via Settings

Microsoft aims to slowly replace the Control Panel with the new Settings app. For this reason, you can also enable File History in Windows 10 via Settings.

Open the Settings app and navigate to Update & recovery -> Backup. To enable File History, toggle the switch next to the “Automatically back up my files” option on the right pane.

If you want to customize File History once you’ve turned it on, click the “More options” link.

Here, you get all of the options that were available in Control Panel but instead of having to click those separate links to reach them, they are all on the same page.

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