Time Traveling with Windows 8 and 8.1

With Windows 8, Microsoft improved the Windows 7 “Previous Versions” with a new feature called File History.

File History keeps a history of all your files and versions.  You can go back in time to recover changed or deleted files.

Once turned on, File History automatically backs up all libraries, desktop, Favorites, and contacts by default to a USB or network drive.

To setup or change File History settings:

1. Press Start, type CONTROL PANEL then open the Control Panel.

2. [Click] FILE HISTORY (in the SYSTEM AND SECURITY section).

3. To save to a USB drive, insert it now.

4. Choose SELECT DRIVE, choose a location, [Click] OK, then (if necessary) TURN ON.

5. To make the same drive available to others on your network, [Click] YES to RECOMMEND A DRIVE FOR FILE HISTORY.

To Restore an Old Version of a File:

1. Select a file to restore.

2. In File Explorer, choose HOME, .

  • To review different versions, [Click]  or .
  • To restore to the same location, [Click] , then REPLACE THE FILE IN THE DESTINATION.
  • To restore to a different location, [Right Click]  then select RESTORE TO. Navigate to the location and [Click] SELECT FOLDER.

Addendum: This post is based on instructions that didn’t make it into our Amazon best-selling Windows 8 and 8.1 quick reference guides.  Our sleek, durable cheat sheets take the most important information you need and provide them in a concise 2 or 4 page step-by-step guide.

For more Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 step-by-step instructions, check out our guides:

Windows 8 Introduction Quick Reference

What’s New in Windows 8 (from Windows 7)

Windows 8.1 Introduction Quick Reference

What’s New in Windows 8.1 (from Windows 7)






2 thoughts on “Time Traveling with Windows 8 and 8.1

  1. I’ve just replaced a finished file with an earlier version by moving it from 1 folder to another and clicked ‘yes’ to replace. In Windows 7 it seems that I could have got it back but in Windows 8 you have to have set the ‘restore’ function. That says ‘use an external hard drive’, which makes it much more fiddly and unlikely that anyone would do it. Also you have to know about it to have set it. Shame. All that work down the drain.

  2. Hello Rosemary – thank you for your comment.

    The new requirement for an external drive may be a good backup “best practice”. It does unfortunately restrict use of a very useful archiving feature.

    One way to get around this is to create share a folder on the network. Roughly: Right click on a folder, select PROPERTIES. Share the folder.

    You can then access the folder when setting up your File History location.

    Another more complicated solution is to set up a virtual hard drive.

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