How to Set up File History on Windows 11

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This article describes the steps to set up File History in Windows 11.

When you enable or turn on File History in Windows, it will automatically back up your Personal Folders (Documents, Music, Pictures, Videos, and Desktop) within your Window profile (C:\Users\<Username>\).

Your OneDrive offline folders will also be included with File History backups.

File History uses journaling which is an NTFS feature that keeps track of file changes on the system’s drives. Whenever a change is made on the system’s drives, the file journal is updated, determining which files and folders need to be backed up.

Using this information, File History knows which files and folders to back up to the destination specified during the setup process.

Before you can use File History, you must first determine the destination. File History supports externally connected drives, such as a USB drive, or you can save to a drive on a network.

Below is how to set up File History on Windows 11

How to set up File History on Windows 11 to back up your files to USB or network

As described above, When you enable or turn on File History in Windows, it will automatically back up your Personal Folders (Documents, Music, Pictures, Videos, and Desktop) within your Window profile (C:\Users\<Username>\).

Below is how to set up File History on Windows 11.

First, open the Control Panel app.

You can do that by clicking on the Start menu button and searching for “Control Panel“. Under Best match, select the Control Panel app.

windows 11 search for control panel
Windows 11 searches for the control panel

Within the Control Panel app, navigate to the path System and Security -> File History.

Control Panel\System and Security\File History

You must have an external USB or network drive available to use File History. If none are available, File History will not be enabled.

On the Control Panel -> System and Security -> File History settings page, click the “Select drive link” on the left.

windows 11 file history control panel select drives
windows 11 file history control panel selects drives

Select the external drive or add a network location you want to use and click OK.

windows 11 file history control panel drive select OK
windows 11 file history control panel drive select OK

After selecting the drive or location, you will be taken back to the previous window. On there, click the Turn on button to enable File History.

As mentioned above, only files in your profile are automatically backed up. You can click the Exclude folder link on the left to add or remove folders from File History.

ex: C:\Users\<Username>\

windows 11 control panel file history turn on button
Windows 11 control panel file history turn-on button

On the Control Panel -> System and Security -> File History -> Advanced Settings page, you can choose how often you want to back up file and folder changes, and how long to keep them.

windows 11 file history advanced settings updated
windows 11 file history advanced settings updated

Once all is done, click on the Run now link to begin backing up your files immediately.

windows 11 file history run now button
windows 11 file history run now button

If the external drive is removed, File History will stop and not run. When you reinsert the drive, File History will back up all the files and folders that were changed since the last successful backup.

That should do it!

Conclusion:

This post showed you how to set up File History on Windows 11. If you find any error above or have something to add, please use the comment form below.