Windows 8 File History feature detailed

One of the biggest recommendations given to any PC user is to make regular backups of important files. However, this kind of activity is frequently ignored. In fact, Microsoft claims that less than five percent of all consumer PC owners even use Windows Backup included in Windows 7. Now Microsoft has come up with a new file backup system for Windows 8 that aims to make saving files easier.

In the newest, and very lengthy, post on the official Windows 8 blog site, Microsoft talks about the new Windows 8 backup feature, which it calls File History.

Microsoft states that File History is different because it will protect just the personal files that are important to each PC user, instead of trying to protect the entire operating system. It says that once it is set up "... every hour, File History will check your libraries, desktop, favorites and contacts for any changes. If it finds changed files, it will automatically copy them to the File History drive." It will require an external storage device in order to work.

File History was also created to offer better performance and take less time. The blog states:

File History was designed to be easily interrupted and to quickly resume. This way, File History can resume its operation, without the need to start over when a system goes into sleep mode, a user logs off, the system gets too busy and needs more CPU cycles to complete foreground operations, or the network connection is lost or saturated.

File History was also created to offer easier access for anyone using a PC. However, it still offers lots of deeper control for PC users who want it, including how long they want to keep any saved files (from as little as a month to forever), how big or small the local save cache file can be and more.

File History is also made to work well with another new Windows 8 feature, Storage Spaces. The blog states, "Users who have lots of data to back up can use Storage Spaces to create a resilient storage pool using off-the-shelf USB drives. When the pool fills up, they can easily add more drives and extra storage capacity to the pool."

File History does not create a full system backup. Microsoft goes over step-by-step on how File History can be used to help restore a PC's full operating system. However, Microsoft adds, "Those who need a full system backup can still use Windows Backup to create a system image."

Source: Windows 8 developer blog | Image via Microsoft

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