Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 30
  1. #1
    iNET Interactive
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    677
    Thanks
    11
    Thanked 63 Times in 50 Posts

    Understanding Windows 8's File History




    TOP STORY

    Understanding Windows 8's File History


    By Fred Langa

    File History is a radical departure from all previous Windows backup systems. Here's what you need to know about File History: why it's so different, its requirements, its advanced settings — and some useful tweaks!

    The full text of this column is posted at windowssecrets.com/top-story/understanding-windows-8s-file-history (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

  2. Subscribe to our Windows Secrets Newsletter - It's Free!

    Get our unique weekly Newsletter with tips and techniques, how to's and critical updates on Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows XP, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Google, etc. Join our 480,000 subscribers!

    Excel 2013: The Missing Manual

    + Get this BONUS — free!

    Get the most of Excel! Learn about new features, basics of creating a new spreadsheet and using the infamous Ribbon in the first chapter of Excel 2013: The Missing Manual - Subscribe and download Chapter 1 for free!

  3. The Following User Says Thank You to Kathleen Atkins For This Useful Post:

    d1hartman (2013-07-11)

  4. #2
    Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Osaka, Japan
    Posts
    60
    Thanks
    2
    Thanked 3 Times in 2 Posts
    I thought File History was a great system until recently. After using it on several PCs at work and at home I have encountered the odd problem in the past month where backups simply stopped working. File History showed that it was still on, but checking the available versions that I could restore from showed that backups ceased to be recorded over a month ago! The target drives had tons of extra space available so I was puzzled. I've tried changing the backup locations. I've tried wiping the old backup drives and starting from scratch. Nothing seems to work.

    On one system where I wiped the drive, if I run File History manually it says it's backing up for the first time for a few seconds and then says it shows the option to Run now. It says File History is on. Nothing gets saved if I look in the Restore personal files.

    In my office I have a 4TB NAS with several TB free. I can't delete old backups, nor can I save new backups. It tells me it's saving backups, but nothing new has been saved since last month. I'm at a loss. I need my backups, but File History is catastrophically failing on multiple machines on multiple networks. If I hadn't manually checked I'd never know about this problem as there are no warnings or errors displayed anywhere.

  5. The Following User Says Thank You to bill For This Useful Post:

    mlg63 (2013-07-11)

  6. #3
    New Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    2
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    System Backup ONLY

    The approach to Backup or now called File History by Microsoft is wrong and why is that? I will tell you........ If and I say IF you are wise enough to put your precious acquired Data over time on another Hard disk, you will be fine when your System has crashed by downloading mal software or hardware failure. And why is that? Because you have back upped ONLY your system not your data, cause your data is safe stored at another place. You only need to restore your system, for you did a backup of that............and if you are paranoid to have a backup of your data that is also possible, using your backup program for that too. There are many solid Backup Programs like Acronis, Paragon etc. which you can use as your standard backup tool, so you don't NEED that horrible approach of Microsoft....That's All Folks!
    Last edited by amj2010; 2013-07-11 at 00:11. Reason: adding

  7. The Following User Says Thank You to amj2010 For This Useful Post:

    pseudoid (2013-07-11)

  8. #4
    New Lounger hjlubansky's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Little Rock, AR, USA
    Posts
    1
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Smile The History of File History

    The Win7 File History model is based loosely on the Apple Time Machine model, which was an ok model for backing up the mac as long as the user paid attention to the drive size of his mac being no larger than the external drive used for the Time Machine backup. The Apple backup model had its problems if the Apple OS had issues which could affect Time Machine, the weakness in having any backup being connected to its OS. Hence the advantage of using a third party backup software in any system, windows or Mac, not tied to the OS at all. That being said, the Windows File History system does work, as long as the user pays some attention to the backup, and tests every month or so, just to be sure of the restore of any single file works. For individual PCs or macs, these friendly backup systems are fine, but if you are doing any data backup that has to be reliable, a third party backup with a good tech support department is still the best recommendation, especially if you are considering your backup to be a network backup rather than just a computer backup.

  9. The Following User Says Thank You to hjlubansky For This Useful Post:

    pseudoid (2013-07-11)

  10. #5
    New Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    6
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
    File History is easy and fast, but it has one huge disadvantage: as far as I can tell, you can't restore the backup to a different computer, so it's useless if your computer is trashed or stolen. I have yet to find a program that creates a full transferable backup and isn't also, according to Internet posts, buggy with Win8.

  11. The Following User Says Thank You to pglizard For This Useful Post:

    pseudoid (2013-07-11)

  12. #6
    Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Nolensville, TN
    Posts
    28
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
    I have File History running on my Surface, but I also use Acronis True Image. Every 2-3 years, I have a situation arise such as a bad HD or something I have done which was stupid, that is easily fixed with a full image restore. A few clicks, and time for a cup of coffee, beats a piecemeal system and program restoration.

  13. #7
    Super Moderator
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    2,721
    Thanks
    78
    Thanked 336 Times in 304 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by amj2010 View Post
    System Backup ONLY

    The approach to Backup or now called File History by Microsoft is wrong and why is that? I will tell you........ If and I say IF you are wise enough to put your precious acquired Data over time on another Hard disk, you will be fine when your System has crashed by downloading mal software or hardware failure. And why is that? Because you have back upped ONLY your system not your data, cause your data is safe stored at another place. You only need to restore your system, for you did a backup of that............and if you are paranoid to have a backup of your data that is also possible, using your backup program for that too. There are many solid Backup Programs like Acronis, Paragon etc. which you can use as your standard backup tool, so you don't NEED that horrible approach of Microsoft....That's All Folks!
    I don't think you explained why it's wrong or horrible.

    Windows 8 has File History for data and Refresh for the system. Why do I need anything else?

    Bruce

  14. #8
    Lounger
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Oliver Springs, TN
    Posts
    34
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 5 Times in 4 Posts
    I came across an interesting problem/feature in Windows 8.

    I have a spare system that I use for testing. The system has three drives, one to boot Windows, the two other drives configured as a storage pool. These two drives are 150 gig each and thus were about 300 gig in the storage pool. I needed to reinstall W8 because of some issues.

    I removed the main W8 boot drive, kept the two drives from the storage pool and went to install a fresh copy. In the drive selection panel of the install for W8 only one drive was shown. The two drives as a single drive of 300 gig. So I removed one of the drives and started the install again. W8 now indicated there were no drives to install W8. I reconnected the drive, booted the install again and W8 now shows just a single drive of 300 gig. The drives are clearly only 150 gig each so W8 is recognizing them as a storage pool.

    What this indicates is that it is possible to use storage pool to make a larger W8 boot drive. You would have to configure the drives as a storage pool on a running W8 system. Then remove the drives and transfer the drives to the new system. Boot the W8 DVD to install and W8 should see both drives (or multiple drives) as a single disk drive. A storage pool for a boot system.

    I did not want both drives to be considered as one drive so it was necessary to boot W7 install DVD and remove the partitions from the drives. Once this was accomplished W8 now saw two individual drives.

  15. #9
    Lounger d1hartman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Murray Hill, New Jersey, USA
    Posts
    25
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
    I've been using Yadis! Backup by Code Essentials for years now. It does all that good stuff, versions, etc. And it's free. It does take a little bit of a learning curve to tweak it to your own personal preferences.
    Dave

  16. #10
    New Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Santa Rosa, CA, USA
    Posts
    10
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    File History has one major flaw in my opinion: it only backs up user files, and not the whole system, so something else is needed to provide a complete backup solution. I needed something very automatic for my wife, and found Rebit 5. It backs up everything, and claims to be able to restore the entire drive if needed, even to another disk or PC, or individual files. We like it so well that I am now using it on my main PC as well. But I am always a little cautious about backups, so I also do a full image backup using TeraByte Image. I use two external hard drives, and rotate them monthly with the spare stored offsite. I would love to use a Microsoft solution but need it to back up the entire system, and also work on older versions of the OS, which both Rebit and TeraByte Image satisfy. If every app on my PC comes from the Microsoft Store, then I could use that plus File History, but we are years from that as a solution.

  17. #11
    New Lounger
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    6
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    I really miss Windows 7's "Previous Versions" file option. I could right click on any file or any directory, choose properties, and one of the tabs would be "Previous Versions," where I could restore any version of a file or directory for as far back as snapshots/shadow copies were available. Of course, this required the "System Restore" be turned on for the volume where those files were stored. But I think in taking away that option Microsoft has made a step backwards. It's harder for me to recover previous versions of files in Windows 8.

  18. #12
    Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Florence, SC, USA
    Posts
    98
    Thanks
    4
    Thanked 9 Times in 9 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by pglizard View Post
    File History is easy and fast, but it has one huge disadvantage: as far as I can tell, you can't restore the backup to a different computer, so it's useless if your computer is trashed or stolen. I have yet to find a program that creates a full transferable backup and isn't also, according to Internet posts, buggy with Win8.
    I agree this is a huge drawback and I have found that it will not restore to a diff hard drive on the same computer. I wonder about how would work on a new replacement hard drive. I installed win 8.1 to a diff hard drive on the same computer and could not access or even see the File History files. It also filled up an external hard drive much too fast. My 1TB ext drive was filled almost to capacity--less than 100gb left--even with File History turned off after an initial trial period and with the highest frequency setting. I would like more control over the settings. Windows 7 system image is so much better and much more useful. That has been an efficient fix for me in the past.

    Edit: I would be interested in finding out if there is a setting to allow access to File History from other drives/computers. Maybe there is a setting we are not aware of.
    Last edited by mlg63; 2013-07-11 at 12:07. Reason: adding a question

  19. #13
    Star Lounger pseudoid's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    96
    Thanks
    15
    Thanked 12 Times in 6 Posts
    As few other Forum members have indicated the shortcomings of "File History", it appears this is another half-hearted [strike] errrrrrrrrrr.... a valiant effort by Microsoft and a work in progress!
    Even the 'Advanced Settings' of File History leave a lot to be desired >> For example:
    *Why is it that the user can ONLY select another drive but cannot select a Folder within that drive that these files are to be stored in?
    *Why is that it really does not specify to the user which exact user files it is actually making backups of?
    *Why should it not give the user additional options to save other important files such as password storage utility data, or FireFox bookmarks, or ThunderBird emails (etc.)?
    *Why is it that the user can only choose to make back-ups at a maximum interval of 1 day, rather than also allowing backups every week or every month?

    I feel these are a few other critical flaws in the way File History is devised.
    And of course, we can make excuses for the lack of such settings (in Advanced Settings section) but this utility is still weak [IMHO].
    Although I allow it to run in my system, the last 'crash episode' I had a few weeks ago made me resort to re-image my system HDD via Acronis True Image archive (*.tib).
    It was a good lesson though: I value my data first-and-foremost, thus I decided that all my "user files" (that are extremely dear to me) should be stored in a second HDD, so that corrupted OS HDD does NOT also take down all my valuable data along with it.
    Of course, in a corporate environment requirements are much much different. I feel that for advanced users of Win8OS cannot (and should NOT) solely rely on Microsoft for such archiving needs and a third-party utility should be an additional program to use at all times.

  20. #14
    2 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    108
    Thanks
    12
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Mine stopped working also. It ran 13 times after I set it up, so I believed it was working properly. Haven't checked it until this article came out. Now today, when I clicked Run Now, it created another backup. However, none since April 7. My backup drive also has lots of room. Disheartening! Judy

  21. #15
    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Hinsdale, IL, USA
    Posts
    2,297
    Thanks
    138
    Thanked 112 Times in 96 Posts
    Backing Up Windows Files and Folders

    It seems that Windows doesn't reliably back up and restore files and folders when File History is used. While File and Folder Backup are not the main purpose of most System Backup programs, they all can do the job. Problem is, to restore from archives, you need to use the program which created the backups. Still not a good option for me.

    It is a bit time-consuming, but I back up any critical data using Windows 8 copy/paste, and 7-ZIP if I want compression to save disk or media space. These compressed files can be expanded onto any location, no matter where they came from. It's not automatic, and batches of folders and files are not easy to schedule, but there is never an issue with not having a file or folder backed up, and never an issue with not being able to restore a file or folder from the backup.

    With Windows 8, I find it isn't even necessary to use third mass-copying utilities like TeraCopy, but it would be nice to be sure these utilities still do work in Windows 8 for those who prefer these utilities over the native Windows copy/paste routines.
    Last edited by bobprimak; 2013-07-11 at 14:32.
    -- Bob Primak --

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •