Say you wake up one morning, go to your computer, and press the Power button. Then nothing pops up on the screen. And you press the Power button again. Still nothing shows up on the screen. After couple minutes, you realize the scenario you have always feared just happens to you: your computer crashes, and there is no way to retrieve your saved documents!
To avoid losing your valuable saved documents for real, we will show you how to save copies of your files on an external hard drive, using the functionality “File History”. We will assume you have already had an external hard drive and you have already installed the appropriate software to use your external hard drive. What we will say is relevant to Version 1903 of Windows 10 Home but may be relevant to other versions of Windows 10:
To start, you need to go to Control Panel. The easiest way to get there is probably to search for “Control Panel” on the Windows search bar:
After you have selected the Control Panel app, you need to select “Save back up copies of your file with File History”.
On the next window will appear the drive you have selected to back up your files. If you have not yet selected any drive, we will show how to do it here. First, check if File History is off:
If File History is turned off, you need to turn it on:
Then you need to click “Run now”:
Upon clicking “Run now”, you will see the message “File History is saving copies of your files”. When the saving of you files is completed, you will see the message “Files last copied on [date] [time].”
How to Select a Drive to Back up your Files to
If this is your first time you have installed an external drive on your computer or if you have several drives installed on your computer, then you need to tell your computer the drive you would like to use for back up. You need to follow the same steps to File History: Control Panel > System and Security > File History. Then click “Select drive” on the left of the window.
After taking some time to search for the drives, your computer will list your available drives, and you can select whichever one you want.
How to Set Back-up Frequencies
Backing up your files as often as possible is recommended, particularly if you use your computer very often and save documents on your local drive. You can set File History to back up your files automatically as often as you need. To do that, you need to click on “Advanced settings” on the left of the File History window. On the next window, you can set how often you need your files to be saved and how long you want the saved versions to stay on your drive.