Enable File History in Windows 8.1 and troubleshooting

Microsoft empowered the users of their OS to enable File History on Windows 7.   This allowed users to recover spreadsheets or data periodically if they made a mistake and wanted to recover the original.

In Windows 8, file history is off by default.  Users will need to have a mapped drive or external drive when recovering files.

What happens if neither is available and the user wants the file history to be on the same drive?

If you use the Charms Bar to navigate to offline files, it will tell you their are no usable drives.

1 FH

2 FH Off

Here’s what you can do.

Share a folder on your C drive with your username.  Make sure you give Full Control to your user.


Now navigate to the Control Panel.  In the search box (top right corner), type “File History”

  • Go to the control panel and search for File History3 Control Panel History
  • Click on Select Drive
  • Type the UNC path \\\yourfoldername and click ok
  • Next click Turn On

9 Search enabled WSearch must be on

It is important to select Advanced settings and to select the settings you need (see below).


You may also want to use the clean up versions option to clean up the backed up files.


Troubleshooting – If you get an error that a service is not started, open services.msc and enable WSearch.

Files being backed up –


About TCAT Shelbyville IT Department

The Tennessee College of Applied Technology - is one of 46 institutions in the Tennessee Board of Regents System, the seventh largest system of higher education in the nation. This system comprises six universities, fourteen community colleges, and twenty-six Applied Technology Colleges.
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