Windows 10 File History Multiple Drives Backup Hack for Disaster Recovery

File to file backup software for Windows 10 computers appear to be few and far between as well as expensive when loaded up with features one may never need. Windows 10 File History Backup was not designed as a backup in the sense of restoring data to another computer after a computer failure. However, this Windows 10 File History Backup hack, fully supported by Microsoft, gives us folks that do not want to use pricey Internet backup or expensive backup software a viable option for emergency file recovery.

Download a PDF of Windows 10 File History File to File Backup Hack for Disaster Recovery

Windows 10 File History Backup is designed to grab earlier versions of files after one realizes they deleted a file or damaged a file in some way. Restoring a file or files is straight forward as shown below.

Select “Restore files from a current backup”

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Then, select the folder or file(s) you need and select “Restore to original location”

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This hack shows that Windows 10 File History Backup can also be used to recover data to another computer in an emergency. The following series of screen shots detail how this can be done.

Insert a large USB drive for use as a backup drive

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Select “Settings”

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Select “Update and Security”

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Select “Backup”

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Select “Add a drive”

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Select your USB drive

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Select “More options”

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Select the timing you need under “Back up my files”

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Select “Until space is needed” under “Keep my backups.

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One can add or remove folders under “Back up these folders.

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To start a backup, select “Back up now”

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If the backup up application does not auto close, click the “X” in the top right corner

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The backup will complete in the background. The more files you have, the longer the back will take to complete. Check status of backup by looking at “Last backup:” date and time under “Overview”

One can manually trigger a backup anytime by selecting “Back up now” on the Back up options screen as well as learning the date and time of the last backup and space available on the drive.

One can rotate multiple drives for an extra level of protection. Generally, Windows 10 File History Backup using multiple drives works by formatting a previously used drive and starting the backup process over with the newly formatted drive. One should carefully follow these instructions.

1 – Start with two external USB drives. Label them Backup One and Backup Two.

2 – Insert Backup One and format the drive using the right click contextual menu in File Explorer. Then set it up as a file history drive using the instructions above starting at “This hack shows that Windows 10 File History Backup can also be used to recover data to another computer in an emergency.”

3 – Determine a backup drive rotation that works for you. Consider how out of sync you might be if you lost your laptop and your stored backup last completed several weeks ago. I prefer to be no more than a week behind but you may think differently. So, for this example, I will pick one week.

4 – After one week, check your Backup One drive for the current backup process to be complete on the “Backup options” screen. You might also want to reconcile several random files before you remove the drive.

5 – Select “Stop Using Drive” also on the “Backup options” screen and then remove the drive and place it in another location far from your laptop; your home safe works well.

6 – Insert the Backup Two drive and complete a drive format like in Step 2 above.

7 – Set up the Backup Two drive as a file history drive using the instructions above starting at “This hack shows that Windows 10 File History Backup can also be used to recover data to another computer in an emergency.”

8 – After one week, check your Backup Two drive for the current backup process to be complete. You might also want to reconcile several random files before you remove the drive.

9 – Select “Stop Using Drive” and then remove the drive and place it in another location far from your laptop; your home safe works well.

10- Insert the Backup One drive and complete a drive format.

11 – Set up the Backup One drive as a file history drive using the instructions above starting at “This hack shows that Windows 10 File History Backup can also be used to recover data to another computer in an emergency.”

12 – Then off you go again with another fresh backup drive. Repeat this process every week alternating between Drive One and Drive Two.

Now, if you lose your computer from some unfortunate circumstance, find the latest Backup One or Backup Two USB drive and plug it into another computer.

You can easily restore files and their many older versions to another computer by browsing the drive’s “File History” folder for needed files and copying them to your new computer.

It can be confusing because of many multiples of time stamped files with the same name. But, cut through the confusion by paying close attention to the time stamp appended to the file name, restoring only the most current file. In most cases, rarely changed files will only have one file with no versions in the file history folder.

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However, DO NOT use the “Restore files from a current backup” function on the “Backup Options” screen to restore files to another fresh Windows 10 computer and new user profile. As easy and intuitive as it looks to restore, it does not work. You will get an error message.

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Remember, the proper way to restore your files to a another computer in the event of a disaster is by browsing the drive’s “File History” folder for needed files and copying them to your new computer.

Business Computer Systems Guide – Part 1

Introduction

9/6/2010 Update – Much of this guide was written in 2005 from material as old as 2000. Although we’ve come light years since 2005, this material still applies to current businesses and business systems.


Today’s sophisticated business computer systems are a complicated lot. Coupled with the plethora of consumer market oriented hardware that one finds in the Sunday paper’s Business Section, confusion appears to be the order of the day. My purpose in writing this guide focuses on sweeping aside most of the confusion. Most small business people remember assembling home stereo or home theatre equipment, as well as programming ones satellite to VCR-DVD to television set. The basics of office computing are not much more complicated that that. 

I believe that if a marginally technical business person understands a few ground rules, the opportunity exists to capitalize on business systems designed for Fortune 500 companies at a price point acceptable for small to medium sized businesses. The first place to start requires exploding the marketing myths used by computer service companies, so called “VARs” value added resellers. VARs partner with software and hardware companies to sell products, “solutions”, to you, the business customer. 

The two most profitable “solutions” to sell are the entire Microsoft paradigm and the Cisco communications product line. Both of these companies have excellent products and have amassed a fortune assisting VARs to sell solutions to business people. Virtually all of the computers in existence today run a Microsoft Windows operating system with Microsoft Office components installed. Those same computers talk to each other using Cisco hardware and software.

If you max out your investment in Microsoft and Cisco systems, two things are certain. Your VAR will have sold you the best and most expensive systems available and you will have very little money left over to productively take advantage of your systems, or much else for that matter. A business needs to achieve balance between costs and deployed systems functionality. Balance achievement is where my systems model and the ground rules associated with my model come into play. It is not in the best profit interest for a VAR to assist a business with achieving this balance.

VARs are an odd lot. Most are well established business people that have hooked their future on a specific software solution or systems solution in a vertical market. Others purchase the latest “how to be a computer business” course and enter the business with well honed marketing tools.

My two most favorite Information Technology Service Provider marketing ploys are the “have an IT person, you are wasting your money” claim and the “own more than 20 computers, save a small fortune” claim. They read like this:

If You Have 20-100 Computers And a Full Time IT Manager…You Are Wasting Your Money” “..any person who qualifies for this position does not really want this position.” “..Not to mention the time they spend on their Fantasy Sports teams, emailing friends, searching for a new job, and downloading PORN. I hate to say but we have caught too many of them doing it.”

Gee Mr. VAR, if you were any good at IT, you would not have let porn into the network to begin with. Scare tactics work on very few astute business people. If you have IT people, pat yourself on the back! 

You are not wasting your money on a “full time IT person”. As a matter of fact, your IT person is most likely on the front lines, helping your employees resolve day to day productivity problems; because, your IT person comes armed with business process knowledge, learned from job related experience he or she came into IT with. Or, your IT person might be passing application specific business knowledge to other employees that came from years in school or on the job training in house, from a competitor or from another unrelated company.

Your IT worker is not a porn surfing waste of time. You hired her or him, just like you hired all of your other great employees. Managed into the right role, they become a valuable intellectual property asset and very able to manage your computing assets. 

If you own more than 20 XP computers in your business, you are in an excellent position to save a great deal of money,” and you can really save a fortune! What you are about to read is all over the Internet and responsible for substantial growth in IT and extreme profit for VARs. 

Check out this information from the Gartner Group* reported in CMP’s Network Computing magazine Page 34, 9/2/2004 issue.

“The cost of an unmanaged Windows XP desktop is $5,309 over three years, whereas a managed XP desktop runs only $3,335, according to Gartner.” A MANAGED XP computer results in a savings of $1974 per computer over three years. If you have 20 XP computers in your business, you can recover $39,480 over three years in expense savings! That amounts to $1096 PER MONTH in expense savings! 

A proactive approach to systems can mitigate and control the cost of your XP computers as well as your entire IT investment. If you have searched the Internet for “Managed Services”, “IT Services”, “help for my network” of “repair my computer” for any length of time, you have no doubt come across similar claims. 

Saving $1096 per month in reoccurring expense for a typical small business is a very realistic goal. But, one must understand that reaching the goal requires a comprehensive approach to business systems, an approach I hope you clearly understand after you learn from my “Business Computer Systems Guide”.

The comprehensive approach is the tool that makes VARs wealthy. A savvy business person might decide to give the $1096 per month and more to a VAR that can return value to the business or might decide to put $1096 per month back into the business, directly to the bottom line. The decision hinges on achieving balance between costs and deployed systems functionality. 

Coming full circle, achieving balance is where my systems model and the ground rules associated with my model come into play. Again, it is not in the best profit interest for a VAR to assist a business with achieving this balance.

Thanks for reading. In the next post, I will discuss balance, managed services and my systems model.

Business Computer Systems Guide – Part 2

Balance, Managed Services, and My Systems Model

I mentioned in my last post,  Business Computer Systems Guide – Part 1, that VARs are an odd lot. Some VARs purchase the latest “how to be a computer business” course and enter the business with cookie-cutter marketing programs. However, most VARs are well established business people that sell specific software solutions or systems solutions in a carefully crafted vertical market. 

The computer systems business attracts poorly capitalized, contractor dependent individuals that acquire business skills from computer systems business consultants of online “how-to” fame. Consultants like Robin Robins and Joshua Feinberg are legendary in the business. Their material, although compelling, can be a loaded canon in the hands of inexperienced business people. 

These systems VARs are dependent upon selling service contracts and emergency repair services. They are not interested it business systems structure or best practices. The marketing consultants push reoccurring revenue over everything else. They also push immediate profits from canned solutions like Microsoft Small Business Server. Mention balance between systems deliverables and business need and they will not know what you are talking about. 

Hidden among the flashy, out front systems VARs, are the vertically focused solutions providers that provide excellent service to their chosen market. These hard working business people provide software for such niche markets as resale and pawn shops, concrete pumping services, medical doctor’s practices and automobile dealerships. They are generally customer focused and quick to respond to market changes. They steadily provide a flow of customer support and product upgrades. It is not uncommon for their customer service people to fly to customers all over the world. 

Niche market VARs push solutions over technology, problem solving over the latest big computer name in the business section. All the while, their solutions evolve, developed to the latest technology. Their benchmark becomes speed, agility, effectiveness and the size of their installed customer base. 

Procede Software of San Diego, California provides a great example of a focused niche market VAR. They serve the automobile and heavy truck dealership market primarily in North America. The Procede Software Excede application, if deployed correctly, can serve every aspect of a dealership’s business without adding any other software product into the mix. This single benefit can add substantial cost savings to a dealership’s financial statement. 

A typical systems provider VAR does not have an in house developed solution that they derive profit from. A typical systems provider VAR depends on their “channel” reseller relationships to survive. Margins are made on the hardware and software that they promote and sell. The “channel” refers to the sales path that occurs from the big software or hardware company, to the systems VAR, then to the end user. The end user (your company) pays for software licensing and hardware, as well as reoccurring software and hardware support. 

The systems VAR’s intense focus on the reoccurring revenue model places it in direct conflict with business thinking. Businesses strive to eliminate reoccurring costs. Consequently, in recent years, a brilliant marketing tool has surfaced. It is called “Managed Services”. 

The “Managed Services” hype promises trouble free computing and round the clock support. However, the words “Managed Services” are simply not enough for your business. 

Your business may have been around for a while or you might have just started up. Your computers and printers may have been networked for some time. You might even have 40 or 50 desktops and a couple of servers, or you might have just purchased new equipment and used this guide to formulate a systems plan, then deployed your systems plan yourself. Regardless where you are in your business, you face similar systems challenges. 

By now, you are certainly receiving mountains of “Managed Services” literature and scads of email urging you to sign up for the latest service plan. Whatever your computer, printer, server, network, systems situation, it is time to take the next step.

Forget about “Managed Services” and think CUSTOMER SERVICE

“Managed Services” is a contrived term that moves the focus AWAY from what computer people are “doing for their customers” to how computer people are supposed to be “doing computer service business”. In other words, away from customer service to internal business processes. “Managed Services” is all about reoccurring revenue for computer service companies, insurance against tough times. 

Without a profound focus on CUSTOMER SERVICE, there are no bones to MANAGED SERVICES. If the “network is having problems” again or the “Website won’t come up” or “my pc is slow” again, you are having customer service problems with your computer systems VAR. 

You own your business and you control your destiny. You are pro-active about your sales, operations and employees. If the proposed managed services fill your need, are delivered robustly and exceed your expectations, then you have services that are CUSTOMER SERVICE intense and as pro-active about systems as you have become about your business. 

My systems model combines the best of pro active systems monitoring and management, with “channel” relationships and focused niche market VAR solutions to set the stage for a robust cost effective business computing environment balanced with business need. My model requires a business to address several points: 

Embrace a solutions provider, a niche market VAR dedicated to your niche market.

Focus on doing all of your business within the feature set offered by your chosen solutions provider.

Provide a top tier robust hardware environment for your employees and your solutions provider.

Support relationships between your knowledge workers and your solutions provider.

Leverage channel opportunities and big computer company opportunities.

Do you want your business to flourish? If so, balance the specific features offered by your solutions provider and the sophistication of your systems environment with the specific business needs of your organization; and, do it with a road map!

Thanks for reading. In the next post, I will discuss planning and design.