The Essential Guide to File Backup Using Windows 8

By Umair Thursday, November 29, 2012

windows 8
Windows 8 hasn't been received in the warmest of fashion by users. A completely new interface, including new menus and shortcuts (the "start" button is now extinct) have left some users of Microsoft's latest operating system frustrated and annoyed, similar to when Windows ME debuted in September of 2000. But regardless of OS, backing up your files is essential. Whether you decide to backup your files online or with your own external hard drive, Windows 8 has made the process simple.

Online Backup Options

Regardless of operating system, online storage is becoming a more popular option for small businesses and others with large amounts of data. Service providers such as online backup offer users a virtual hard drive which can be accessed from any computer. Dropbox offers five gigabytes of online storage for free, while Skydrive offers seven at no charge. Storing your data offsite adds an extra layer of protection from hardware failure, fire, natural disasters and theft.

File History Feature in Windows 8

Time Machine has been a staple for Apple since 2007 and Microsoft now has its version of a backup utility. File History is a new and improved backup option built into Windows 8. It was formerly called "Previous Versions" in Windows 7 and Vista. Windows Backup, the utility that runs scheduled backups for Windows 8 and all previous editions of the operating system, is still part of Windows 8, but is now called "Windows 7 File Recovery." Since Windows will not allow both utilities to run simultaneously, it becomes a matter of personal preference.
The major difference between the two is that File History backups only your Libraries (i.e. My Documents, My Downloads, etc.), while File Recovery  will backup your entire system based on a schedule you set. The interface for File Recovery is somewhat complicated and requires some effort to restore your system in case of failure. File History simply stores your data to a separate drive of your choice which can be accessed like any other external (or online) hard disk, and restored to the exact hour of any given day. File History is also very simple to use. All you have to do is open it, select the drive you want to use, and click the "turn on" button.

Backup Before Windows 8 Upgrade

Windows ME was jestfully dubbed the "mistake edition" by PC World magazine and Windows 8 is getting similar criticism from users early on. Some users have reported losing all of their files after installing the upgrade and others have said their system would no longer boot. Windows 8 eliminated the F8 option from previous versions, which you could repeatedly press during start-up and get a diagnostics menu. Thus, safe mode is no longer a simple option at start-up  as you must navigate to Advanced Boot Options to activate it. Windows 8 does most of its system repairs automatically, and accessing your files may be impossible if a fatal error corrupts your system and you cannot boot in safe mode.


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