This post shows students and new users the steps to restore files and folders from File History in case the original is lost or damaged. File History regularly backs up your files to your home folders. File History will not back up your apps. These can be reinstalled at any time.

But your important documents, when lost or damaged, can be almost impossible to replace, and that is why File History is designed only to back up your important files.

To read more about how to configure the backup process with file history, you can read the post below:

When you have File History running on your machine and you want to restore a lost or corrupted file, you can simply follow the steps below. File History allows you to browse your backed up data, allowing you to browse different versions of your files and folders, comparing them to their current versions.

When you find a better version of the file that you want to restore, simply select Restore to return the file to its original location. We show you how to do it below.

To start restoring files through File History, follow the steps below.

How to restore a lost or damaged file in file history

As mentioned above, File History allows you to quickly restore lost or damaged files to their original location. Here’s how it’s done.

Click on the Start Menu, then find and open the Control Panel application as shown below.

When the Control Panel application opens, click Security system category group.

Then click File history as shown below to open the File History panel.

In the File History panel, click the Restore personal files link as highlighted below.

Click on the Previous (CTRL + Left Arrow) button or next (CTRL + Right Arrow) at the bottom to navigate through the different versions of your backed up files and folders until you find the date from which you want to restore a version.

Select the file or folder you want to restore, then the restore button as shown below.

By default, File History will be restored to its original location by overwriting everything there. However, you can use the control option to restore to another location as shown below.

You will have a different option available to use when restoring.

  • File: To restore an entire folder, open it to view its contents.
  • Records: To restore multiple files, open select and open each file to make sure they are the correct files to restore.
  • A file: To restore a previous version of a file, open that file from within the File History window.

Once you choose to restore a file or folder, and the destination already has the same content, you will be prompted.

These are your options:

  • Replace the file in the destination folder – Select this option only if you are sure that the previous file is better than the current file. This will overwrite the current file in that location with the backed up version.
  • Skip this file – Select this option if you do not want to restore the file or folder.
  • Compare the information of both files – This option allows you to compare file sizes and dates before choosing which one to keep.

Select the restore option, then exit File History.

That is all!


In this tutorial we have seen how to restore an item through File History. If you find any errors above or have something to add, please use the comment form below.

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