Bye, bye, File History


Haydon

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The outstanding value proposition of File History for me was the hourly backups that ran in the background, that's gone.

I reviewed my File History records of the past 2 weeks and there were intervals longer than 1 day without backups in spite of the 'every hour' setting (which is the default setting) I have run out of ideas on how to correct the issue, read my numerous love/hate posts on File History.

(I will manually run RoboCopy on a daily basis and Macrium Reflect on a weekly basis)

How can such a marvelous concept have such a less than marvelous implementation <shaking my head in disbelief> I will revisit you in a year or two, hope to find you on your way up (y) and not on your way down (n)
 

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johnlgalt

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Hmm. I wonder if there are other settings elsewhere affecting this. I mean, it would make sense to update only when a file itself has been updated, but a the samer time, a hard "always update every hour" should still be allowable. Wonder what Microsoft did to change it, and more importantly, why?
 

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fixer

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File History on my older Win 10 system saves files only when they change and Win 11 on my laptop is the same. Both are on the default setting of every hour but have never actually done so. I'm not seeing anything has actually changed :confused:
 

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Bree

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File History on my older Win 10 system saves files only when they change and Win 11 on my laptop is the same.
Mine is set for 'daily' but like Fixer it only saves anything when there are changes to a file. If there are no changes in a day then it will be skipped. This was always the way in W10 and is the same after the upgrade to W11.
 

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    fully 'Windows 11 ready' laptop. Windows 10 C: partition migrated from my old unsupported 'main machine' then upgraded to 11. A test migration ran Insider builds for 2 months. When 11 was released on 5th October it was re-imaged back to 10 and was offered the upgrade in Windows Update on 20th October. Windows Update offered the 22H2 Feature Update on 20th September 2022.

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    unsupported machine: Legacy bios, MBR, TPM 1.2, upgraded from W10 to W11 using W10/W11 hybrid install media workaround. In-place upgrade to 22H2 using ISO and a workaround.

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johnlgalt

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File History on my older Win 10 system saves files only when they change and Win 11 on my laptop is the same. Both are on the default setting of every hour but have never actually done so. I'm not seeing anything has actually changed :confused:

Mine is set for 'daily' but like Fixer it only saves anything when there are changes to a file. If there are no changes in a day then it will be skipped. This was always the way in W10 and is the same after the upgrade to W11.

Exactly what I would have thought. Only save when file is actually changed.
 

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Haydon

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Exactly what I would have thought. Only save when file is actually changed.
If only File History did that, I have nothing against differential or incremental backups. For example, my Outlook receives hourly emails (at least during business hours) and File History is MIA.
------------------------
FWIW, I have a theory why File History has taken a backseat compared to OneDrive.

File History is:
1) a stand alone app that has to do the heavy lifting on a billion computers.
2) MS earns nothing from File History, it is part of the OS.

And here is the twofold contrast:
1) the OneDrive app on the computer is merely a client OneDrive app to the server OneDrive app on MS servers. The server OneDrive app does the heavy lifting but even MS has far fewer than a billion servers.
2) MS earns $$ from OneDrive, e.g. renting out OneDrive storage space, providing OneDrive storage space as an incentive to take out MS365 subscriptions, etc.

In other words, if I revisit File History in a year or two, chances are that I will find it on its way down (n)
 

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Mooly

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Interesting. There is something 'odd' in File History that I've noticed over the years and can't explain. This current install was clean for 22H2 so only a few weeks old.

I keep some records that get updated with a new sheet every weekday. So over the course of a month there are perhaps 22 new sheets (they are LibreOffice spreadsheets). Every month those go in a folder, one folder for each month.

File History when I look at the raw data on the File History drive has apparently stopped adding new sheets and the folders in a correct form. Novembers folder is 'missing' and some of the individual spreadsheets for both November and December are showing but in an incorrect layout and grouping.

If I go to Control Panel and open 'Recover Files' they all appear correctly and bang up to date with all the folders and layouts reflecting how they are in the parent folder in My Documents. So all good.

I've noticed this before. It saves the raw files correctly for a few weeks and then something happens but ultimately when accessed via control panel all is good. There is another folder in File History that seems to split file groups and stores them in some unknown sequence but they are all pulled together when needed.

Don't know if that helps or not...
 

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johnlgalt

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Interesting. If they are there in Control Panel, then that suggests that the File History UI itself is having issues showing all of the actually saved data....
 

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Mooly

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This shows the File History user interface. All correct. This mirrors how it looks in Documents.

Interface.jpg

This shows the Myriad individual folders created elsewhere in the File History location. Each contains just a single spreadsheet from the November folder. I see they all have the same 'modified' date which I don't understand.

Lots of Folders .jpg

And this is the raw data in File History which doesn't match how the user interface (correctly) groups it all. December and Novembers individual sheets are interleaved here despite Novembers being in separate monthly folders in the parent documents folder.


Raw Data.jpg
 

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Mooly

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@Haydon thanks but my File History works fine (when used via the proper interface).

No errors showing. These three are just files that were open and in use when File History happened to run. All good.

Screenshot 2022-12-19 061618.jpg
 

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johnlgalt

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The last error in the screenshot corresponds to the same date as the modified date, though the times are different. Interesting. Why was file history modifying folders over 1.5 hours before and yet still running at that time when you opened a file?
 

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Mooly

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I'm afraid I've no idea on that, until this thread came along I'd just left File History to its own devices and let it get on with it. Ultimately it seems to know what its doing and for a user just accessing it from the intended interface its is fine, everything is a perfect copy in its right place.

I have no explanation beyond being aware that it behaves in this non intuitive way.
 

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johnlgalt

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Well, no worries. It's a start. Now that this has been documented, perhaps more users can chime in on what they've noticed as well.
 

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I searched File History and I got "File History is turned off"
 

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Try3

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For example, my Outlook receives hourly emails (at least during business hours) and File History is MIA.
Perhaps File history can only capture Outlook.pst files when Outlook is closed.
That certainly applies to trying to copy psts using other utilities [such as RoboCopy].

I run a RoboCopy backup hourly to a local SD card and I include a test of Outlook in the script. If Outlook is running, I skip the pst files.
My SD card slot would otherwise be sitting there doing nothing so I bought a big card for it & I back up selected 'core' files within its size limit.


Denis
 

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Haydon

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Perhaps File history can only capture Outlook.pst files when Outlook is closed.
That certainly applies to trying to copy psts using other utilities [such as RoboCopy].

I run a RoboCopy backup hourly to a local SD card and I include a test of Outlook in the script. If Outlook is running, I skip the pst files.
My SD card slot would otherwise be sitting there doing nothing so I bought a big card for it & I back up selected 'core' files within its size limit.


Denis
FH is supposed to run in the background every hour and in the console would appear a warning that .pst is not backed up in this run and FH would try to back up that .pst file in the next run. But FH does not run every hour and as I remarked in the OP, the intervals wihout backups can be longer than 1 day. That happens without any pop up windows, without any notifications, and you will miss the intervals without backups if you don't go looking in the console. That's insidious in my book.

I am saying the above merely as a caution for other FH users.

Some RC GUI apps run VSS before RC, but MRHFF (Macrium Reflect Home File and Folder backup) has integrated VSS which works much better, IMHO. Nonetheless, any backup app works better right after a restart, with only a minimum of services running.

Copy and paste doesn't look all that bad, after all :-)
 

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johnlgalt

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Try3

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Copy and paste doesn't look all that bad, after all
That's right as long as
- You don't run large copying operations or you don't care how long they take to run. RoboCopy can run multiple copying threads in parallel & drastically reduce the time that it all takes. See my ditty - Using RoboCopy threading [post #10] - TenForums
- You don't care about preserving file creation dates.


All the best,
Denis
 

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Haydon

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I still have a Copy of my 'irreplaceables' on USB sticks, it's from an era when the biggest USB stick non-inflated money could buy was a proud and threshold-breaking 1 GB. I still use copy and paste, of course, but generally only for smaller on-the-fly jobs.

By and large, I look at MRHFF as a GUI version of RC (and also as a redundancy, if one is MIA then there is the other although so far neither has gone MIA)

So, to provide an upswing from the thread title/topic, if anyone here is looking for an alternative to FH, I can recommend MRHFF or RC equally well.

Edit:
MRHFF = Macrium Reflect Home File and Folder backup
RC = RoboCopy
 
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