File History Backup Win 10

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  1. Posts : 10
    Windows 10 64bit Ver. 1909
       #1

    File History Backup Win 10


    I have read many articles over the last 10 years extolling the use of the built in Windows File History facility. Many years ago whilst using Windows 7 I became suspicious of its value as an effective file backup regime when I could not find a few files in the history backup. I firmly believe that it has a limitation that is not well known and possibly someone will now hopefully disprove me on this one.
    File History adds 26 characters to each file name as it backs up. The maximum total full path length of any file that it backs up for me is 210 characters, including these 26 characters. Thus any original file with a full path length of 185 or more characters is ignored.
    I have checked this previously in Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and now 10. My latest checks today across 14,590 data files shows this to be still correct.
    I check the full path file length using a programme 'Too Long Path Detector' TLPD_x64.exe
    I have always been under the impression that Microsoft have said in the past that the maximum allowed is 255 characters but I believe that this is untrue. I do not trust it as a reliable file backup programme.
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  2. Berton's Avatar
    Posts : 10,787
    Win10 Pro Versions 2004 and 2009/20H2, Win10 Pro IP_Dev, Win10 Home 1909
       #2

    Pentris said:
    I have always been under the impression that Microsoft have said in the past that the maximum allowed is 255 characters but I believe that this is untrue. I do not trust it as a reliable file backup programme.
    And it can be easy to forget this as pure DOS is seldom seen for some time now:
    8.3 filename - Wikipedia

    An 8.3 filename (also called a short filename or SFN) is a filename convention used by old versions of DOS and versions of Microsoft Windows prior to Windows 95 and Windows NT 3.5.It is also used in modern Microsoft operating systems as an alternate filename to the long filename for compatibility with legacy programs. The filename convention is limited by the FAT file system.
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  3. Posts : 107
    Windows 10 Pro
       #3

    Pentris said:
    File History adds 26 characters to each file name as it backs up. The maximum total full path length of any file that it backs up for me is 210 characters, including these 26 characters. Thus any original file with a full path length of 185 or more characters is ignored.
    I just checked the pathname of one of my files that File History is failing to back up. The source pathname has 149 characters and the target pathname would have an additional 16 characters for a total of 165 characters. Both are under the 185 limit you mentioned.

    Does Windows use the drive letter in the pathname, or the network address? The drive letter is Z: but the network address is \\192.168.1.9. That still doesn't put the target pathname over the 185 limit.

    As an experiment, I shortened the length of the source full pathname by renaming parent folders. I reduced it from 149 to 89 characters. I did a Backup Now. The file was not written. For some reason, File History has singled out this file and refused to back it up. Maybe it knows it's the book that I've been working on for almost a year. How fiendishly clever! I make several other kinds of backup (Macrium Reflect images, SyncBackFree), but I do these periodically. I rely on File History to run every 30 minutes so that I cannot lose more than 30 minutes' worth of work.
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  4. Posts : 10
    Windows 10 64bit Ver. 1909
    Thread Starter
       #4

    File History Backup Win 10


    Just goes to show how unreliable it is, and probably always was. I was using it to, so called back up, my Family History research compiled over 30 years. No more, I am using other multiple systems that do work properly. I also use a second external disk which is backed up to monthly and kept in a fireproof safe.
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  5. Posts : 107
    Windows 10 Pro
       #5

    Pentris said:
    Just goes to show how unreliable it is, and probably always was. I was using it to, so called back up, my Family History research compiled over 30 years. No more, I am using other multiple systems that do work properly. I also use a second external disk which is backed up to monthly and kept in a fireproof safe.
    Have you found anything that replicates the functionality of File History? I have a need for almost continuous backup.
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  6. dalchina's Avatar
    Posts : 30,597
    Win 10 Pro (1903)
       #6
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  7. Bree's Avatar
    Posts : 19,226
    10 Home x64 (20H2) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       #7

    perkinw said:
    Have you found anything that replicates the functionality of File History? I have a need for almost continuous backup.
    You appear not to have read the replies on your other thread File History is not backing up my work

    In particular, post #12 onwards, where I gave an example batch file that mimics the behaviour of File History. A batch file could be run manually whenever you feel the need, or Task Scheduler could have a task set up to run it regularly.
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  8. Matthew Wai's Avatar
    Posts : 5,434
    Windows 10 Home 20H2
       #8

    And the batch file can be modified at will to serve your needs.
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  9. Posts : 107
    Windows 10 Pro
       #9

    Bree said:
    You appear not to have read the replies on your other thread
    You're right. I didn't see post 12 onward until now. Thank you! It may sound lazy, but I'm looking for a "canned" solution.

    I tried Macrium File and Folder backup. As far as I can tell, it doesn't offer what I'm looking for. Specifically...

    I did a full File and Folder backup of a source folder. I added a file to the source folder and ran a differential File and Folder backup. On the destination drive, I now see two .mrbak files. When I open the differential file with Macrium, I see only the latest version of everything, which includes the new file that I added. I made some changes to the file in the source folder and ran another differential backup. Macrium still only shows me the latest version of the file.

    I repeated the experiment doing incremental instead of differential backups, but got the same result. Unless I'm missing something, File and Folder backup merely mirrors the current contents of the folder(s). It does not allow you to inspect incremental changes. So I would have no way to recover a version from earlier in the day, the way File History does (especially when you tell it to "Keep backups forever").

    Furthermore, Macrium Reflect only allows a daily scheduled backup, so if I wanted it to run more often I would have to run it from a batch file, which makes it even less appealing!
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  10. Bree's Avatar
    Posts : 19,226
    10 Home x64 (20H2) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       #10

    perkinw said:
    I did a full File and Folder backup of a source folder. I added a file to the source folder and ran a differential File and Folder backup. On the destination drive, I now see two .mrbak files. When I open the differential file with Macrium, I see only the latest version of everything, which includes the new file that I added. I made some changes to the file in the source folder and ran another differential backup. Macrium still only shows me the latest version of the file.
    What you do is setup the backup and save it as a backup definition file. Then run the Macrium backup definition file several times, the first time produced a Full backup with an -00-00.mrbak at the end. Subsequent runs (differential or incremental) will be -01-01.mrbak, -02-02.mrbak and so on, in sequence. What you do to find a particular version of a file is to open the particular .mrbak made at the time of the version you want to find.



    Furthermore, Macrium Reflect only allows a daily scheduled backup, so if I wanted it to run more often I would have to run it from a batch file, which makes it even less appealing!
    Macrium deon't stop you setting up more than one daily scheduled backup, you could set up several, each timed to run an hour or so apart.
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