Windows File History

Estimated reading time of this article: 2 minutes

Windows offers a useful feature with the file history. But there are a few hurdles, so that it is useful for developers.

The file history of Windows backups regularly, e.g. every hour, all changed files to a second drive. The file properties dialog in Windows Explorer has the tab "Previous Versions" . The regularly backed up old file versions are listed there. An old version of a file can be restored.

How can for an arbitrary folder the history be enabled, e.g. 'C:\Projects'?

previous file versions dialogPrevious file versions tab in Windows Explorer file properties

Windows 10 file history has the following limitations:

  1. The main drive containing the data cannot be used as a backup drive. So C: does not work.
  2. By default, only the user directory is backed up, i.e. 'C:\User\User X'.


  1. A SD card can be used as a backup drive. Alternatively, a USB stick could be used, but the SD cards are less disturbing during transport.
  2. To backup any folder, you have to add your folder to a library. Because libraries are also backed up.

In addition, it is recommended to exclude large folders or folders that are not interesting in the file history:

  • .git/objects
  • node_modules
  • target
  • dist

The effective activation of the file history is described on many other pages: