Windows 8.1 FAQ

Backup and Restore

1. How do I back up my files in Windows 8?

You can use the File History tool in the Control Panel, System and Security.


a) Attach a USB or other external storage and click on 'Turn on' to begin setting up your backup schedule. If no drive are available, you cannot turn it on.
Note, that there is no way to backup other folders other than your default folders in the user's profile.

File History On

b) It will then automatically backup files to the drive for you to a folder called E:\FileHistory (you can view contents in Explorer).
The date and time of the last backup is shown. You can click on Run Now to do manual backups.

History saved

c) Click on the Advanced Settings to change the schedule (default is every hour), the size of the cache (5%)
and how many versions of files are kept (Forever).

Advanced settings


2. How do I restore files?

a) First connect your backup drive to the computer and run the File History control panel

b) Click on Restore personal items link on the left side. A list of folder types is shown.


c) Open the folder where the files to restore are located until you find the file(s) required. Then select the files and right click and
select either Restore (to orginal location) or Restore to (to a new location).

Select and restore files

3. How do I backup my entire computer? new

In Windows 8.1, if you search for 'File History', there is a additional option called System Image Backup (see bottom left)

System image

Click on System Image Backup and you get the following options to backup to another Hard Disk, DVD or Network location.


You can also backup the system using the Windows Backup tool from the command line (backup all of C: to an external drive E:):
e.g. wbAdmin start backup -backupTarget:E: -include:C: -allCritical -quiet

You can create images of disks using the ImageX.exe tool from a Windows PE disk or using Automated Deployment kit
e.g. ImageX /Compress fast /Capture C: D:\ "System image" will backup and compress the entire C: drive to an image called on a D: drive.

Alternatively, you can use third party tools such as Acronis TrueImage, BootIt Bare Metal or Retrospect. Free backup tools includeClonezilla, DriveImage XML, O&O DiskImage and Paragon Backup.

4. Can I backup my files to storage in the cloud (internet)?

Yes, there are now products on the web for backing up to the web including Norton Online Backup, and IDrive, Carbonite, Backup Genie, One Drive, iCloud and others.