There is perhaps no more important thing for users to do than backup their files. Hard drive crashes can happen unexpectedly and the risk of losing important and irreplaceable files like family pictures is just too great to ignore. Unfortunately, in today's busy world, many of us forget this important step, so the best solution is an automated one. There are countless solutions on the market, but Windows 8 has a simple file backup built right into the operating system. Sadly, it's not readily obvious and isn't on by default, so users need to enable it after they have set up their new computer, or upgraded the existing PC to the new Microsoft operating system. It's a simple process, but don't expect a big feature set.
To access the backup and restore apps you will need to go to the Charms menu, click "Search" and type "Control Panel". From within the Control Panel select "System and Security".
From here, you will spot an option called "File History" which has two sub-headings beneath it - "Save backup copies of your files with File History" and "Restore your files with File History". Since we're just getting started we obviously want to choose the first option so we can backup our files.
Here's where one of the key limitations comes into play. You will need to have an external hard drive plugged into your computer. That isn't a problem for many desktop users, but if you are using a laptop then external drives aren't generally attached. You can however use a network share instead if the computer is connected to a network.
If you have an attached drive then you can click the "Turn on" button. From here' you will have the option to choose the files you wish to include in the backup. All files are selected by default and you will need to go into "Exclude folders" to change this. Users can also select how often a backup takes place by clicking "Advanced Settings".
While having local backup is certainly recommended, it shouldn't be anyone's only source. Everyone should consider keeping their files in at least three locations - original, local backup and cloud storage. Many reasonably priced and reliable cloud backup services exist these days, such as Carbonite and CrashPlan to name just two. For local backup, there are also plenty of free sync programs that have more features than this, but the built-in solution will certainly be enough for many users.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.