TechMicrosoftMicrosoft talks about Protecting user files with File History...

Microsoft talks about Protecting user files with File History in Windows 8


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In their next Building Windows 8 article, Microsoft talks about Protecting user files with File History.

Win 8 file history

This is how the article starts:

File History is a backup application that continuously protects your personal files stored in Libraries, Desktop, Favorites, and Contacts folders. It periodically (by default every hour) scans the file system for changes and copies changed files to another location. Every time any of your personal files has changed, its copy will be stored on a dedicated, external storage device selected by you. Over time, File History builds a complete history of changes made to any personal file.

It’s a feature introduced in Windows 8 that offers a new way to protect files for consumers. It supersedes the existing Windows Backup and Restore features of Windows 7.

What is unique about this approach compared to a more traditional backup and restore?

Regretfully, backup is not a very popular application. Our telemetry shows that less than 5% of consumer PCs use Windows Backup and even adding up all the third party tools in use, it is clear nowhere near half of consumer PCs are backed up. This leaves user’s personal data and digital memories quite vulnerable as any accident can lead to data loss. In Windows 8 Microsoft is actively trying to accomplish the following:

  1. Make data protection so easy that any Windows user can turn it on and feel confident that their personal files are protected.
  2. Eliminate the complexity of setting up and using backup.
  3. Turn backup into an automatic, silent service that does the hard work of protecting user files in the background without any user interaction.
  4. Offer a very simple, engaging restore experience that makes finding, previewing and restoring versions of personal files much easier.

While designing File History we used learnings from the past and added requirements to address the changing needs of PC users.

  • PC users are more mobile than ever. To address that, we optimized File History to better support laptops that constantly transition through power states or are being connected and disconnected from networks and devices.
  • PC users create more data and are more dependent on it than ever before. So we do not only protect what’s currently on the system drive but also any work they have done and data they have created in the past.

When a specific point in time (PiT) version of a file or even an entire folder is needed, you can quickly find it and restore it. The restore application was designed to offer engaging experience optimized for browsing, searching, previewing and restoring files.

To continue reading it, click here.

I can see that this feature is going to be very useful and will really help people out!

What do you think and are you excited about Windows 8?

Andrew Edney
Andrew Edney
I am the owner and editor of this site. I have been interested in gadgets and tech since I was a little kid. I have also written a number of books on various tech subjects. I also blog for The Huffington Post and for FHM. And I am honoured to be a Microsoft MVP since January 2008 - again this year as an Xbox MVP.


  1. There’s a lot to like about the W8 File History feature, but it completely ignores applications that have their own databases, e.g. Adobe’s Lightroom.

    I’ve got used to the elegant and simple-to-use client PC Backup function of Windows Home Server (which covers all files and provides a bare-metal restore). Moving to W8 on my current hardware will mean that I will continue to use WHS for backup.

    However, because WHS does not support backup/restore of client PCs that use EFI/GPT technology, that will mean that I will have to use a combination of File History and some other method of backing up application data on such machines. Frankly, that makes it a bit of a kludge, instead of the current “set it and forget it” method of WHS.

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