How to Backup Windows 8 with File History

Windows 8 comes with a groundbreaking feature called File History.  This lets you backup all your files continuously to a USB drive or network location.  You can then restore any file to any point in time.

To activate File History, follow these steps:

  1. First, make sure you’ve connected a USB drive and turned it on.  File History won’t work if it can’t see your USB drive.  If you’re backing up to a network location, make sure it’s ready and accessible.
  2. From the Start screen, start typing “Control Panel” to do a search.
    Start typing "Control Panel" from the Start Screen
  3. Click on the Control Panel icon to open it.
    Click on the Control Panel icon
  4. Click on System and Security.
    Click on System and Security.
  5. Click on File History.
    Click on File History.
  6. Turn on File History.
    Turn on File History.

Congratulations!  File History is now on.

Your files will be backed up automatically every hour.  You can adjust how often to save copies of files under “Advanced Options.”

Stay tuned for my next article on File History, where I’ll show you how to encrypt your backups with BitLocker.

Geoff Akerlund

Geoff Akerlund

Geoff Akerlund is the founder and editor-in-chief of He enjoys attending music festivals, whitewater kayaking on the American River, and board game nights in his free time.

Geoff Akerlund