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Backing Up Your Surface 2 Data

This chapter shows how to set up File History to manage backups as well as how to restore, clean up, and manage previous backups on your Surface 2.
This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

In this chapter...

  • Configuring and Starting File History
  • Restoring Files
  • Cleaning Up Files
  • Troubleshooting File History

Your Surface uses a solid-state hard drive. That means that it has no moving parts and, because of that, it’s faster and more mechanically reliable than a traditional hard drive. However, solid-state drives don’t even approach 100% reliability. That means that the chances of losing data stored on your Surface at some point is higher than you might think. Because most of us store irreplaceable data on our PCs these days (things such as priceless photographs), the importance of a good backup strategy simply cannot be overstated.

Configuring and Starting File History

File History is a feature in Windows RT 8.1 that makes it easy to automatically save backups of critical files to an external drive or a network drive. If something happens to damage your critical files, you can easily restore them from the backed-up source.

Starting Your First Backup

You start your first backup by opening File History in Control Panel and pointing it to a removable drive.

  1. Make sure that you either have a USB thumb drive or another removable drive plugged in to your PC.

  2. Press Winkey+W and enter File History into the search box.
  3. Tap File History in the search results.

  4. After your drive is found, tap Turn On to enable File History and back up your files.

  5. Wait until the first backup of your files is complete before you remove the drive.

Selecting a Different Drive

After you’ve set up File History for the first time, you can change to a different drive for your backups. For example, you might want to back up to another machine on your network.

  1. From File History in Control Panel, tap on Select Drive.

  2. Select a drive from the list if your desired drive appears.
  3. To add a network location for backup, tap Add Network Location.

  4. Browse to the network location or enter a network path.
  5. Tap Select Folder.

  6. Tap OK to confirm the new drive.

  7. Tap Yes to move your previously backed up files to the new drive; otherwise, tap No. (If your selected drive contains a previous backup, this step will be skipped.)

Excluding Folders

You might want to exclude some folders from being backed up. For example, if you have temporarily saved some videos to your Videos library, you might want to exclude them from being backed up to save space in your backup drive.

  1. From File History, tap Exclude Folders.

  2. Tap Add.

  3. Select the folder you want to exclude.
  4. Tap Select Folder.

  5. Tap Save Changes.


Choosing When Backups Happen

By default, your backups happen once per hour. You can change how often backups occur so that they occur more frequently or less frequently.

  1. From File History, tap Advanced Settings.

  2. Tap the Save Copies of Files drop-down and select a time interval for backups.

  3. Tap Save Changes.


Controlling Local Disk Usage

If your backup drive isn’t available, File History still stores backups of files that change. It does so by using a portion of your local drive to store file changes in a cache. When the backup drive is available again, File History uses this cache to transfer backups made while the backup drive was unavailable.

By default, File History uses 5% of disk space on your local drive for caching. You can change how much disk space is used on the local drive for caching.

  1. From the Advanced Settings screen, tap the Size of Offline Cache drop-down.
  2. Choose a percentage of disk space that your backup cache should use on the local drive.
  3. Tap Save Changes.

Controlling How Long Backups Are Kept

By default, File History saves your backups forever; however, this can quickly fill up your backup drive. You can control how long File History saves backups.

  1. From the Advanced Settings screen, tap the Keep Saved Versions drop-down.
  2. Choose a new value to set how long File History keeps your backups.
  3. Tap Save Changes.

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