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Windows 8 : Working with backup and restoration (part 2) - Protecting files and data by using File History

4/11/2014 2:54:18 AM
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3. Protecting files and data by using File History

Windows 8 has another new feature, File History, to make backing up your personal settings easier than in the past. Its aim is to provide an easy-to-configure tool for backing up your Windows 8 files and data. The folders included in File History backups by default are:

  • Libraries

  • Desktop

  • Contacts

  • Favorites

  • Microsoft SkyDrive

If you have files or folders you want backed up, you can add them to one of your existing libraries or create a new library. To configure File History, complete the following steps:

  1. From the desktop, select the Settings charm, tap or click Control Panel, and then tap or click File History.

    When the application opens, it tries to detect removable drives to use when storing backups. If none are found, you can choose a network location and specify a UNC path where backups can be stored.

  2. If you will be configuring removable media to store your data, select the drive you want to use and tap or click Turn On. File History is shown in Figure 2.

File History

Figure 2. File History

When File History is turned on, the wizard copies items from the default locations to the drive you have selected. The initial copy process takes a bit longer than subsequent copies to complete.

Excluding items from File History

If you want to exclude certain folders or libraries from File History backups, click the Exclude Folders link in the left pane of the File History window, as shown in Figure 2. This opens the Exclude Folders window, which is shown in Figure 3.

Excluding folders from File History backups

Figure 3. Excluding folders from File History backups

To exclude a folder, complete the following steps:

  1. In the Exclude Folders window, tap or click Add.

  2. Navigate to a folder or library and select it for exclusion.

  3. Tap or click Select Folder.

  4. Tap or click Save Changes. The selected folders or libraries will not be included in File History backups.

Note

CONSIDER CAREFULLY WHAT TO BACK UP AND WHAT TO EXCLUDE

Carefully consider files to be excluded. Although these settings can always be modified to include files that have previously been excluded, until this is done, File History will not back up excluded files.

Offline caching is a method used to store a portion of the information, typically saved to a network drive or online resource, on your local computer for faster access.

In addition to drive choices and folders to exclude, you can configure the following advanced settings:

  • Save Copies Of Files Specifies how often the files will be saved. Every Hour is the default.

  • Size Of Offline Cache Specifies the amount of disk space that Windows should use to cache File History data offline.

  • Keep Saved Versions Specifies the length of time Windows should keep versions of files that File History has saved.

After you have configured these settings as appropriate for your computer, tap or click Save Changes to store the configuration.

Restoring files, folders, and entire computers

Backing up a computer’s files helps you feel secure, knowing that your data—from photos of your family to documents covering a large corporate merger—is safe. However, you perform backups to restore your data in the event of an emergency. The restoration capabilities available in Windows 8 are much more advanced than previous versions of Windows, so restores can include a just few files and folders rather than requiring the restoration of entire computers.

Performing a restoration of only certain files or folders that have been backed up (for example, the items included in a File History backup) can save time and productivity if a document is lost, moved, deleted, or becomes corrupted.

To recover items from a File History backup, complete the following steps:

  1. From the desktop, select the Settings charm and then select Control Panel.

  2. Open File History.

  3. From the navigation pane, select Restore Personal Files.

  4. The most recent copies of items that have been backed up are displayed in the Home - File History dialog box shown in Figure 4. If the files you need to recover are in a different version of the backup, tap or click the left or right arrow in the center of the bottom of the dialog box to switch to the previous or next version of the backup, respectively.

    Choosing an item to recover from File History

    Figure 4. Choosing an item to recover from File History

  5. When you have located the files you need to restore, highlight them and click the center button at the bottom of the dialog box to restore the files to their original location.

    In addition to restoring the items to their original location, you can select the items and then press and hold or right-click them to access the following additional options:

    • Preview Displays the items contained in the backup.

    • Restore Performs a restoration of the items to their original location.

    • Restore To Performs a restoration after you specify where you want the files restored. This option is helpful when you want to compare documents to keep multiple versions of a file on hand.

    When you have selected a restore option (and the restore location if using Restore To), the object is copied from the backup, and its location is displayed in Windows Explorer.

  6. Close the Home - File History window.

RECOVERING FILES FOR EVERYONE

Recovering individual files is much easier in Windows 8 than by using Previous Versions in earlier versions of Windows, so you might want to alert your coworkers to the idea of self-service restoration. The File History option can be a great time saver for both employees who need help and the IT support staff providing the help because it enables the person missing a file to locate it and restore it with little effort. Doing this can reduce help desk calls about missing files and their recovery from other backup media.

Important

THE KEY TO FILE RECOVERY

To reduce help desk calls about lost files, the best thing you and your IT department can do to provide solutions for your organization is to document the steps to use File History in Windows 8 and hold training sessions for your coworkers. Use this time well so that they can learn how to use these features and have an opportunity to ask questions. After they have used it several times and, most important, used it to recover files that are important to them, they will begin to understand the importance of backing up information. In some cases, it will take more than one lost file or document to convince some employees. Usually, though, after someone goes through the experience of a missing file, the importance of recoverability becomes very clear.

 
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