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.

Preaching Backup Again

WD My Book World DriveThe Western Digital My Book World Edition 4 TB (2 x 2 TB) Network Attached Storage Drive is WD’s latest device to add a remarkable amount of storage capacity to your local network.

Although the design squarely hits the home network sweet spot, it would be a great economical addition to a small office network to aggregate both computer backups and shared files to one office device. It even comes with all of the backup software.

Check out this video. Western Digital specs read:

Automatic and continuous backup for all the computers on your network

Centralize all your family’s digital content

Best-in-class performance cutting-edge technologies to deliver high performance read and write speeds ideal for the most demanding users.

Built-in media server for streaming music, photos and movies to any DLNA certified multimedia device such as Playstation 3, Xbox 360, wireless digital picture frames, and connected audio receivers. DLNA 1.5 & UPnP certified.

iTunes server support to centralize your music collection and stream to a Mac or Windows PC using iTunes software.

This drive even sports remote access to your files. It needs to find it’s way to your office.

When Is Backup Really Backup

I find myself easily drawn to new and better technology, but when does a product not quite get you there?

 

The Seagate® Replica™ 500-GB System bills itself as a "complete PC backup system, Effortless, automatic backup for everything on your PC, including the operating system, programs, and settings." This sounds easy and the device looks pretty nifty. But, the devil is in the details.

Seagate tells me that the Replica will automatically backup my entire hard drive without my having to configure anything. I’m almost sold. So what pushes me over the edge?

This thing is so cool looking. It will look great sitting on my desk quietly backing up all of my data. So I make the purchase, plug and play, automatically backing up my stuff so that I am completely protected from any data loss, right?

 

Wrong… The Replica has it’s place, like it’s ability to save the file you accidently deleted on Friday but knew it was correct on Tuesday. So, just restore Tuesday’s copy of the file. You can also restore a complete snapshot of your computer’s drive in the event you are wiped out by a virus. But what about the really big catastrophes?

The big ones prove the need for a bullet proof backup and recovery system for not only your pc but your entire business. It’s not out of the question that when your computer is destroyed in a disaster, your cute little Seagate Replica will also be destroyed at the same time.

I would like to see this Seagate Replica device not only backup your computer automatically but also push a backup to the cloud, an off site out of region data center. Imagine loosing both your computer and Replica in a fire, but having the ability to restore your files from the cloud back to your new replacement computer.

Then you would have a true backup. Combine frequent file restores with testing of those restored files and you then have a bullet proof backup and recovery system.