How to Restore Files from File History in Windows 10

The Windows 10 File History backup and restore program saves the files you created. Your apps and programs are not backed up. After all, apps and programs can be reinstalled at any time. But many of the moments that have inspired so many photos, videos, and documents can never be recreated.

To protect your files, File History automatically creates a copy of each file in your Documents, Music, Videos folders, and Photos. Also, all files are copied to your desktop. The file version history automatically creates these copies every hour.

With file version history, you can easily view and restore your backups. So you can search for different versions of your files and folders and compare them with your current versions. If you find a better version at the push of a button, the old version is brought back to the system.

How to Restore Files from File History in Windows 10

The file version history only works if you activate it. This process is described in Chapter 13. Please go back a few chapters and activate it now. The sooner you activate it, the more backups you have to choose when you need them.

Recover files from Windows 10 file history

To browse your backed up files and folders and restore the ones you want:

Click the File Explorer icon on the taskbar (shown here) and open the folder that contains the items you want to restore.

For example, click This PC in the left pane to see the most commonly used folders, desktops, downloads, documents, music, pictures, and videos. Open a folder by double-clicking its name.

Click the Home tab on the ribbon of your folder. Then click the History button.

When you click the History button shown here, the file history program shown in the following figure appears. The program looks very similar to a simple old file. For example, the illustration shows what happens when you click the History button in a folder and then click the Start button for the file version history. This button allows you to view all of your backed up folders.

You can use the file history program to restore backup copies of all of your primary folders.

You can use the file history program to restore backup copies of all of your primary folders.

The file history program shows what you’ve backed up: your primary folders, desktops, contacts, and favorite websites.

You can also open the folders in the “File History” window. You can also search the files found there to view their contents.

Choose The File Windows 10 to restore from History.

Point to and click on Libraries, Folders, and Files until the item or items you want to restore are recognized:


To restore an entire folder, open it to view its contents.


To restore a group of files, open the folder that contains them so that the file icons appear on the screen.

A file:

To restore a previous version of a file, open the file in the File History window. The file history shows the content of this file.

When you find the file or folder you want to restore, go to the next step.

Fast forward or rewind to find the version you want to restore.

Select the left arrow at the bottom to search through the different versions of the currently displayed objects. To view a newer version, select the right arrow.

File History in Windows 10

When viewing the contents of a particular file, click the left or right arrow at the bottom to view it.

When viewing the contents of a particular file, click the left or right arrow at the bottom to view the latest and oldest versions of the file.

File History in Windows 10

Over time, click and look at individual folders or files that are open until you see the version you want to restore.

Not sure if a folder contains the item you want? Enter it in the search box in the upper right corner of the file history.

Click the Restore button to restore the desired version of the file in Windows 11.

Regardless of whether you are viewing a single file, a folder, or the contents of an entire library, click the Restore button to restore the item to its original location.

However, there is a potential problem with this: What happens if you try to restore an old file called Notes to a location that already contains a file called Notes? Windows will alert you to the problem with the window that appears, which will take you to step 6.

Choose whether to replace the existing file, ignore the file, or choose the file to keep.

Choose how to deal with conflicts.

If Windows encounters a name conflict with the item you want to restore; file history shows three ways to deal with the situation.

Replace the file in the target folder.

Click this option only if you are sure that the previous file is better than your current file.

Skip this file.

Click here if you don’t want to restore the file or folder. This option returns you to the file version history where you can browse other files.

Compare the information from the two files.

Often, this option is the best choice and allows you to compare file sizes and data before choosing which file to save, the incoming file, or the currently existing file. If you want, you can also keep both files with this option: Windows only appends a number after the name of the incoming file and names it Notes (1), for example.

7. Exit the file version history by closing the window.

Close the history window like any other window: Click the X in the upper right corner.


The file version history not only backs up everything in your primary folders and on your desktop but also stores a list of your favorite websites that were previously listed as favorites. It also backs up OneDrive files you’ve synced to your PC.

Do not save on size when purchasing a portable hard drive, flash drive, or memory card to create backups. The larger the hard drive you select, the more backups you can save. The file version history is very useful.

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