Restore previous versions of your files easily in Windows 8

Windows 8 has a new feature called File History that gives you an easy method to restore previous versions of your files.

We are going to use a networked folder in for our article but you could always skip creating the network folder, and just use a USB drive. To use a USB drive you can just go to the setting for File History and turn it on, it should automatically find your USB and immediately start working.

Setting Up File History Using A Shared Folder

The first thing we have to do if we want to use File History with a network share is to actually create the folder and share it, so head on over to your home server (or any always on PC) and create a new folder named File History.


Right-click on the folder and select Share with, then click on the Specific people option.


Type everyone and hit the add button.


Finally change the permissions so that every one has Read/Write permissions.clip_image008

Now switch back to your Windows 8 machine and launch explorer, then open the classic Control Panel.


Click on the System and Security link.


Now open up the File History settings.




























Click on the Change drive link on the left hand side.



Now you will need to add your network location.
























Browse to the shared folder we just created on your home server and click the Select Folder button.clip_image020

Make sure your network location is selected and click the OK button.


Now you can Turn on File History.


When you click on the “turn on” button a message will pop up asking you if you wish to recommend the location that you used for File History to other users in your HomeGroup as a place to save their File History. If you have a HomeGroup and want to have a central location where all users in the HomeGroup can store their File History you will probably want to say yes, otherwise it’s OK to choose no. File History will now be set up and working.

Restoring A Deleted File Or Folder

In this example I have 1 file in the Documents Library called “My Plans To Take Over The World”, and I am going to accidently delete the document and restore it using File History.


I’ve now deleted the file permanently by doing a Shift-Delete as I don’t think I will be taking over the world anymore. I have also created two new files called “New File 1” and “New File 2”, making the library look like this:


A few days later, my partner in crime phones me and tells me that he is free this week, and it looks like a good week to conquer the world. The problem is that I deleted my plan. Luckily I had set up File History a while back and can recover the document, we need to recover the Document without effecting “New File 1” or “New File 2”. To do that we to that we select the File History button on the ribbon.


This will launch the File History browser, and give you all the different versions of the Documents Library.


If I scroll back to Version 3 of 4 using the arrow that’s pointing back (left), you will see that my document called “My Plans To Take Over The World” is there.


I can now select my file and click on the Blue Orb  to restore the document. File History will launch the folder that you are busy working with and show you that the file is now there.


Comments (14)

  1. Butcher says:

    This is utter bull, I just want to restore the previous version of a folder on my pc just like I used to do it in W7, without the need for extra wishy-washy crap like network settings and "allow everyone". No I don't want to allow anyone to do anything. I'm the only user on this pc and it's not connected to any network or whatever.

  2. Alex says:

    Previous versions and powerful task manager was awesome in windows 7..

    We all loved windows 7.

    Windows 8 is just a colorful toy..

  3. Dmitry says:

    I agree with Buthcer!

    restore previous version – was a greate function. why it was removed from W8?!

  4. Bob says:

    This is a joke.


    No. Previous versions was easy; this is convoluted.

    Once again, another action made more complicated than it needs to be. And they wonder why people think W8 sucks ass…

  5. steven says:

    guys this above stuff is bullshit if u want u can enable the previous version tab like it was in windows 7. however there is a drawback that if u have aready deleted some stuff on ur windows 8 pc and you are reading this later then it aint possible. but anyways this is for future use. please forgive me for my english  and my grammer. simply follow this like and u will be able to restore the previous version tab in windows 8…/windows-8-how-to-recover-previous.html

    i hope it helps!!!

  6. Ali Reza says:

    Fk Windows 8 …. i like the previous versions.. what to do with this crappy ass file history, even not able to recover one of my files ….:(

  7. scott says:

    Windows 8 still has the old-style previous versions function, except it is hidden for some bizarre reason. You can only access it via a network share, not the local version of the drive.

    If you want to restore a version of a file on the C: drive, then in the file explorer, type the following in the address box:


    hit return, and the networked version (i.e. the administrative network share) of your local C drive will appear. Now you can right-click on any file or directory and the "Previous versions" menu item is included. Use \localhostd$ for the D drive, and so on.

  8. JCF says:

    But for that apparently you have to have had a network share connected BEFORE you need to do that, right?

  9. VL says:

    One of the bullshit for system administrator is that Windows 8 will not have this "Previous Versions" option as Windows 7 had.

  10. VAN says:

    after fighting for all the easiest way to have Previous versions of file in windows 8 (as we had in 7) is MAP it all the drives using \localhostc$ and \localhostD$ and \localhostE$ and so on….

    But this still is not the best solution, Mr.Bill Gate was in the toilet while this particular part was

    I hope they do know how to make it available this crappy little fellow for all administrators…..

  11. VL says:

    They can do it from the windows update, I hope Microsoft read this wonderful posts…

  12. VAN says:

    to  JCF 16 Mar 2014 5:52 AM,

    You do not need to have "a network share connected", as I said, you can map all your drives within your computer itself, you can pretend as if you had so many network connections and try to map from one of them, BUT, in the place of \networksystemD$ you may use \localhostd$ then you can click it finish button, you are done!

    But I still say this is not the easiest way as we had in windows 7, I hope the Mr.Bill Gate and his guys bring up the option through windows update. If they don't please let me know that I may fire all of them……lol

    Hope that help!

  13. SF says:

    This is complete horse crap. In W7 it was two clicks!! Give me STRENGTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am disgusted!!

  14. Eldard says:

    This is so simple, just type \localhostc$ and \localhostD$ and \localhostE$ and so on in the address box depending on the drive you are working on and you'll be able to access the previous versions option as you used to do in W7..

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