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Backup and File History (Win8)

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  • User profile image
    Sven Groot

    I'm a bit confused by the backup options in Windows 8. When you search for backup in the control panel, all you get is the new File History feature.

    For whatever reason, the options for File History only allow me to store the copies on E:. None of my other hard drives are listed. E: is the drive I use for recording gameplay footage, so it's out of the question as the File History drive. But apparently C:, D: and G: (last one is an external drive) don't count, even though D: has far more space free than E:. What's the criteria used for which drives can be used as File History targets?

    It seems File History doesn't provide me with the backup I actually want, like the old Windows Backup. By pure accident I discovered the "Windows 7 File Recovery" option (which I thought would just give me the option to restore a backup created on Windows 7) allows you to set up a regular back up schedule like before, and store that backup on an external drive as usual. The "Create system image" option is also hidden under this "Windows 7 File Recovery" stuff.

    This is incredibly obscure and hidden. Who decided to muck the backup stuff so badly?

  • User profile image
    JoshRoss

    @Sven Groot: Have you tried the recimg.exe command line tool?

    -Josh

  • User profile image
    Sven Groot

    @JoshRoss: What does that do? I just want to set up a daily backup like I did before in Windows 7, I'm just confused why it's so difficult to find that setting.

    I did figure out why I couldn't pick my external drive as a target for File History. Apparently, you can't pick drives that have libraries on them. Even when I explicitly excluded the library that had a folder on G:, I still couldn't pick it. I had to remove the folder from the library before G: showed up in the list.

    Excellent design there, MS.

  • User profile image
    JoshRoss

    @Sven Groot

    From what I can tell, it creates a system image, specifically a WIM file, and puts it where you specify, in the case of a catastrophic failure.

    I have no idea what it chooses to backup. But, it would be silly to put the image on the same drive as the one you are trying to protect. Are you backing up multiple drives?

    Then there is the subject of Spaces. What are the best practices for backing redundant volumes, and where do you put it?

    It seems too magical to actually work. 

    -Josh

  • User profile image
    Sven Groot

    I don't want an image, I just want to backup my own files. Restoring the OS isn't an issue, losing stuff I created is.

    And I already found how to do that. Both File History (provided you don't have a library on the drive you want to backup to, even if you're not backing up that particular library) and the deeply buried regular Windows 7-style backup seem to work.

    I'm just curious as to why the design is so stupid and the settings so convoluted.

    It would be silly to back up files to the same drive they're originally from. But the Library that's on G: is one I created, it contains downloaded stuff only, I don't want to backup it. So I exclude that library using the "Exclude Folders" option in the File History UI, but I still can't select G: as the backup device. I have to actually remove the library before I can do that. That, in my opinion, is stupid.

  • User profile image
    JoshRoss

    @Sven Groot: There seems to be much cleverness for the sake of cleverness, in Windows 8. For the life of me, I'm not sure why Microsoft didn't look at TimeMachine and just copy it. If you, me, and I suspect the rest of the elite channel9 squad, have to scratch our collective heads to figure out how to backup our computers, what chance does grandma have?

    -Josh

  • User profile image
    felix9

    Windows 8 File History and the old Backup can't be used at the same time, according to Microsoft.

    So as File History is the recommended one, the old Backup/Restore tool is there solely for backup compatible reasons, apparently.

    http://hs.windows.microsoft.com/hhweb/content/m-en-US/p-6.2/id-96f731ec-aa04-4b4f-b687-47ed520098b8/

  • User profile image
    DeathBy​VisualStudio

    , JoshRoss wrote

    @Sven Groot: There seems to be much cleverness for the sake of cleverness, in Windows 8. For the life of me, I'm not sure why Microsoft didn't look at TimeMachine and just copy it. If you, me, and I suspect the rest of the elite channel9 squad, have to scratch our collective heads to figure out how to backup our computers, what chance does grandma have?

    -Josh

    Oh c'mon Josh even Grandma knows you store all of your stuff on SkyDrive and problem solved! Wink

    If we all believed in unicorns and fairies the world would be a better place.
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  • User profile image
    Ian2

    Just taking a look at Amazon Glacier - looks very cheap put from what I can see has no interactive UI (there is an MS.Net SDK)

    That said I have used two simple options, one was from Dell that came free with my PC (it saved my life one time) and another was from my ISP (Virgin).  Both allowed you to specify which folders you wanted to back up via a GUI and then just ran in the background on a schedule set by you. 

  • User profile image
    spivonious

    Interesting, I have all of my libraries on the same drive, so I never ran into that issue. Good to know.

    File History itself is nice, because instead of needing to understand what an incremental backup is, and remembering to do a full backup every once in a while, and managing the space for the backups, I simply turn on the feature and my library files are backed up whenever they're modified.

  • User profile image
    cbae

    The Windows 7 File Recovery feature in Windows 8 works pretty well. Because of the name, I thought it was intended to be a way to restore files that you backed up from your previous Windows 7 deployment prior to doing a fresh installation of Windows 8. As it turns out, you can back-up and restore files from a current Windows 8 deployment.

    In addition to creating a system image and backing it up, you can backup just your data files to any location--including a network share. You can select which folders you want to backup, and schedule when you want the backup to occur. The files that are backed up are conveniently zipped up for you on the destination folder. It's actually a pretty cool feature.

    Again, another limitation is that you can't backup a mapped network drive. Grrrrrr!

  • User profile image
    AndyC

    I'd hazard a guess the reason is because if you were to later un-exclude the library, it'd then be trying to back it up to the same location - which clearly doesn't work from a data reliability point of view. It's a bit clumsy, but I suppose the typical use case scenario is a user using an external disk solely for backup.

  • User profile image
    contextfree`

    @felix9: Hmm, the File History PM in the B8 post comments said otherwise: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8/archive/2012/07/10/protecting-user-files-with-file-history.aspx

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    @JamesJohnston

    If you wish to use a full system backup (Windows Backup) in conjunction with File History, please turn on Windows Backup after you have turned on File History. To do that, go to the Control Panel and open Windows 7 File Recovery. You'll see two options 1) Create a system image and 2) Set up backup. Select one that works best for you.

  • User profile image
    Sven Groot

    I'm trying to use File History, but it doesn't seem to work. After a full day, trying to restore still tells me it has to "back up files for the first time" even though the main File History status screen doesn't say that anymore.

    The event log is filled with Warning events saying that "File was not backed up due to an error:" but with no further details (except the file name). Every series of events ends with an Error event saying "Unable to finish a backup cycle for configuration C:\Users\sgroot\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\FileHistory\Configuration\Config", again with no further details.

    Yeah, this stuff works just great...

    EDIT: Actually, the event log also gives the HRESULT 0x80070002, which only returns results related to Windows Update if I search for it.

    EDIT2: Or maybe it failed because apparently the external drive just stopped working. It worked again after I unplugged it and plugged it back in, but it has never done this under Windows 7.

  • User profile image
    MasterPi

    , Sven Groot wrote

    EDIT2: Or maybe it failed because apparently the external drive just stopped working. It worked again after I unplugged it and plugged it back in, but it has never done this under Windows 7.

    They found you again. Devil

    Although, to be fair, as blowdart mentioned, there is that cookie.

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