Microsoft designed File History with two objectives in mind: to offer the best possible protection of your personal files and to offer ease of use, simplicity and peace of mind.
If you want to take advantage of File History, you only have to make a few, simple decisions. In most cases, these decisions will be limited to only one: which external drive to use. Windows 8 takes care of the rest. File History operates transparently and doesn’t affect the reliability or performance of Windows in any way.
File History in Windows 8.1 is a new feature that protects users files store in Libraries, Favorites, Contacts, Documents, Pictures and Desktop folders. By default, when enabled, File History scans for changes and copies those changed files to a separate location (usually an external storage device or network location).
Setting up and using File History is simple and is available to standard users, not just administrators. That’s right; no longer does it take a call to the helpdesk for users to restore files that they have accidentally modified.
To enable file history, from Control Panel > System and Security select File History. File History by default is turned off. To turn it on simply click the Turn On button.
To change the drive where File History data is stored, simply click the Select Drive link on the left side of the File History window. You can choose either a local attached drive, or a network share, by clicking Add Network Location. If there are folders or libraries that you do not want included in your File History, excluding them can be completed by clicking the Exclude Folders link and adding any folder or libraries that you do not want.
File History offers users a simple way to protect your data and personal files without having the complexity of setting up and using backup. It’s an automatic background process that doesn’t require any user interaction. The restore process is also much simpler offering a rich experience for previewing and restoring previous versions of files.