How to Use Windows 10’s Backup and Recovery Tools

Windows provides built-in options to back up your PC. All we have to do is take the time out and set it up according to our needs and be regular. This way we are safe in case of unfortunate events such as a crash or malfunction. In Windows 10, there are 2 main backup programs: File History and Windows Backup & Restore.

File History is useful for Word documents or Powerpoint files or any files that are edited a number of times. Multiple versions of the document are saved, so you have a choice to restore the version you want.

The Backup & Restore feature is used to create a backup of the most recent version of your files. There are 2 categories within Backup & Restore File Back up and System Image. File Backup stores all your files as a Zip file. System Image, on the other hand, saves full system backup in the form of images. This image can be later used to restore files. In this article, we explain both File History and Back & Restore options and how to use them.

How to set up and use File History?

File History is a useful feature that maintains a backup of your files. All you have to do set it up for the first time and the tool will take care of updating the backups periodically. To enable File History, follow the steps below.

  1. Click on the Start button and type File History
  2. Click on File History settings when it shows up after you search and hit Enter
  3. Choose Backup and click on ‘Add a drive’
  4. Then choose a destination to save your backups
  5. To customize your backup, click on More Options. Here you can choose details such as the amount of time to keep your backups, choose only specific folders to backup or if you want to change the destination location to save your files
  6. Then click on Backup Now

File History creates a backup and updates it periodically. It builds a complete history of the file over time. And you are free to restore any version of your choice.

Restore from file history backups

To restore the file history backup created,

  1. Go to Control Panel and select File History
  2. Click on Restore personal files
  3. You can choose the version of the file you wish to restore. You are also allowed to preview the file before restoring.

How to use Backup & Restore

The second backup feature is the Backup & Restore which is used to create a system image which is a complete image of the system used in case of boot drive failure. To set up backup & restore, follow the steps below.

  1. In Windows 10, go to Control Panel and select Backup & Restore
  2. Click on Set up Backup
  3. Choose a destination to save your backups. This can be local or on a network drive.
  4. Next, you have 2 options to choose what to back up. You can either let Windows do it for you or you can customize what folders you want to backup. If Windows uses the default, it will save all your libraries, desktop and Windows folders. It also creates a system image from which you can restore files at a later time.
  5. Finally, click on Save settings and run backup for the system to start the process.

How to restore the system image

Once the system image has been created, it’s simple to restore. Go to Settings and click on Update & Security. Then select Recovery and reboot your computer through advanced recovery menu. Once the computer restarts, you will be presented with a couple of recovery options such as System Repair, System Image Recovery, Command Prompt etc.

You will select System Image Recovery and follow on screen instructions to restore the image created. This will help you restore the files when required.


File History and Backup & Restore are great backup features offered by Windows. If these features are set up properly, you can feel confident about your data being safe at all times. But remember, you can never have too many backups. So, it best to enable both these features and have multiple backups.

There are situations when files are deleted from your system by accident or due to third party cleaning tools and you don’t have a backup. In such cases, you can use a professional recovery program called Remo Recover to recover deleted files and folders. For detailed steps on the process, refer how to recover deleted files in Windows 10.

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