File history in Windows 10 – should you use it?

If you have worked in a business with shared network drives, you have probably come across functionality where you can restore a file to previous version without your administrator’s intervention. Right click on a folder/file, choose properties and go to tab previous versions. Accidentally removed a file? Not a problem! Just hit restore! Try it on your shared drive, you most likely have it enabled!

005-shared drive previous versions

By default the snapshot or shadow copies as it is called in Windows server is taken twice a day, at 7am and then 12pm. It is safe, fast and does not take much space as it only saves the difference between the changes. How perfect, right?

So what does it have to do with Windows 10?

Starting with Windows 7, Microsoft introduced file history so you can do exactly the same on your home computer, perhaps even better as it does not save the differences in strictly given times, but by default every hour! The only requirement is that it has to be enabled on a separate drive, kind of like a backup (but not really). And to answer the question from the title – YES!

How do you set it up?

  1. Go to Windows settings (press Windows logo key + I)
  2. Type ‘history’ and choose Backup Settings
  3. Under Back up using File History, click Add a drive
  4. You can choose from your local or network drives or even USB drives or an SD card
  5. Done
  6. Optional: you can change the default settings by clicking More options

It takes a moment to transfer all your base files first but once done, you will be able to restore your files at any point in time, but locally and even without the internet. If you have a laptop, you can connect and disconnect the drive and Windows will resume File History once you plug it back in.


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