Backup and Restore Restore Files or Folders from File History in Windows 11

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File_History_banner.png

File History regularly backs up versions of your files in the Documents, Music, Pictures, Videos, and Desktop folders and the OneDrive files available offline on your PC. Over time, you'll have a complete history of your files. If the originals are lost, damaged, or deleted, you can restore them. You can also browse and restore different versions of your files. For example, if you want to restore an older version of a file (even if it wasn't deleted or lost), you can browse through a timeline, select the version you want, and restore it.

File History only backs up copies of files that are in all folders and subfolders inside your account's C:\Users\<username> folder. If you have files or folders elsewhere that you want backed up, you can add them to one of these folders.

File History takes advantage of a feature built into the NTFS file system called the change journal to keep track of changes to files. Essentially, when any change is made to a file or folder on your hard disk, the change journal is updated with a description of the change and the name of the file or folder. So to determine which files need to be backed up, File History simply consults the NTFS change journal. Using the change journal is fast and efficient and won't use up a lot of system resources like running a conventional backup routine does.

This tutorial will show you how to restore previous versions (copies) of files and folders from File History in Windows 10 and Windows 11.


Contents

  • Option One: Restore Files or Folders from File History in Control Panel
  • Option Two: Restore Files or Folders from File History in Previous Versions





OPTION ONE

Restore Files or Folders from File History in Control Panel


1 Open the Control Panel (icons view), and click/tap on the File History icon.

2 Click/tap on Restore personal files in the left pane. (see screenshot below)

Restore_personal_files_from_File_History-1.png

3 Click/tap on the Previous version (Ctrl + Left Arrow) button or Next version (Ctrl + Right Arrow) button at the bottom to cycle through the different versions of your files and folders until you find the date you want to restore a version from. (see screenshot below)

Restore_personal_files_from_File_History-2.png

4 Select the file(s) and/or folder(s) you want to restore this dated version of. (see screenshot below)

You can enter the name of file you're looking for in the search box.

You can click/tap on the Home (Alt+H) Home.png button at the top right corner will take you to the most current version of your files and folders in File History.

You can click/tap on the Options (Alt+O) ⚙️ button, and click/tap on View to change the view layout of File History to what you like.


Restore_personal_files_from_File_History-3.png

5 Do step 6 ("Restore" to original location), or step 7 ("Restore to" specific location) below for how you would like to restore the selected file(s) and/or folder(s) versions.


6 Restore to Original Location

A) Perform one of the following actions below, and go to step 8. (see screenshots below)​
  • Click/tap on the green Restore to original location button at the bottom.
  • Right click on the green Restore to original location button at the bottom, and click/tap on Restore.
  • Click/tap on the Options (Alt+O) ⚙️ button at the top right corner, and click/tap on Restore.
Restore_personal_files_from_File_History_to_orignal_location-1.png
Restore_personal_files_from_File_History_to_orignal_location-2.png
Restore_personal_files_from_File_History_to_orignal_location-3.png


7 Restore to Specific Location

A) Perform one of the following actions below. (see screenshots below)​
  • Right click on the green Restore to original location button at the bottom, and click/tap on Restore to.
  • Click/tap on the Options (Alt+O) ⚙️ button at the top right corner, and click/tap on Restore to.
Restore_personal_files_from_File_History_to_specific_location-1.png
Restore_personal_files_from_File_History_to_specific_location-2.png

B) Navigate to and select where you want to restore the selected file(s) and/or folder(s) versions, click/tap on Select Folder, and go to step 8. (see screenshot below)​

Restore_personal_files_from_File_History-4.png


8 If prompted, click/tap on Replace the file in the destination or Replace the files in the destination. (see screenshots below)

Restore_personal_files_from_File_History-6.png
Restore_personal_files_from_File_History-5.png





OPTION TWO

Restore Files or Folders from File History in Previous Versions


1 While File Explorer (Win+E), right click on the file or folder you want to restore a previous version of, and click/tap on Properties. (see screenshot below)

File History only backs up copies of files that are in all folders and subfolders inside your account's C:\Users\<username> folder.


Previous_versions-1.png

2 Select the previous version you want to restore. (see screenshot below)

Previous_versions-2.png

3 Do step 4 ("Restore" to original location), or step 5 ("Restore to" specific location) below for how you would like to restore the selected file or folder version.


4 Restore to Original Location

A) Perform one of the following actions below, and go to step 6. (see screenshots below)​
  • Click/tap on the Restore button at the bottom.
  • Click/tap on the drop arrow button to the right of the Restore button at the bottom, and click/tap on Restore to.
Previous_versions-3.png
Previous_versions-4.png


5 Restore to Specific Location

A) Click/tap on the drop arrow button to the right of the Restore button at the bottom, and click/tap on Restore to. (see screenshot below)​

Previous_versions-5.png

B) Navigate to and select where you want to restore the selected file or folder version, click/tap on Select Folder, and go to step 6. (see screenshot below)​

Restore_personal_files_from_File_History-4.png

6 If prompted, click/tap on Replace the file in the destination or Replace the files in the destination. (see screenshots below)

Restore_personal_files_from_File_History-6.png
Restore_personal_files_from_File_History-5.png


That's it,
Shawn Brink


 

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