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How to Enable or Disable File History in Windows 10

information   Information
File History was first introduced in Windows 8, and has been improved in Windows 10.

You can use File History to automatically back up versions of your files on a schedule to a location you select to save to. You can select to save backups to an internal hard drive, externally connected drive (ex: USB drive), or you can save to a drive on a network. You can add, remove, and exclude folders to be backed up by File History.

Over time, you'll have a complete history of your files. If the originals are lost, damaged, or deleted, you can restore them. You can also browse and restore different versions of your files.

File History takes advantage of a feature built into the NTFS file system called the change journal to keep track of changes to files. Essentially, when any change is made to a file or folder on your hard disk, the change journal is updated with a description of the change and the name of the file or folder. So to determine which files need to be backed up, File History simply consults the NTFS change journal. Using the change journal is fast and efficient and won't use up a lot of system resources like running a conventional backup routine does.

If the drive selected as the backup location becomes unavailable, such as when a USB cable is disconnected or the network goes down for maintenance, File History will continue to do its job by saving the copies to a cache on the local drive. Once the backup location becomes available again, the cached contents are transferred to that location and removed from the local drive.

For more about File History, see:


This tutorial will show you how to enable or disable File History for all users in Windows 10.

You must be signed in as an administrator to be able to enable or disable File History.

warning   Warning
Making new backups with File History is no longer supported starting with Windows 10 build 16215.

You can still restore files from an existing File History backup though.

File History will eventually be replaced by a new feature called Timeline.

Update: File History is back in Windows 10 build 16226.


CONTENTS:
  • Option One: To Enable or Disable File History using Group Policy
  • Option Two: To Enable or Disable File History using a REG file


EXAMPLE: File History disabled
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Enable or Disable File History in Windows 10 OPTION ONE Enable or Disable File History in Windows 10
To Enable or Disable File History using Group Policy

Note   Note
Local Group Policy Editor is only available in the Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise, and Education editions.

All editions can use Option Two below.


1. Open the Local Group Policy Editor.

2. In the left pane of Local Group Policy Editor, navigate to the location below. (see screenshot below)

Computer Configuration/Administrative Templates/Windows Components/File History

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3. In the right pane of File History in Local Group Policy Editor, double click/tap on the Turn off File History policy to edit it. (see screenshot above)

4. Do step 5 (on) or step 6 (off) below for what you would like to do.


 5. To Enable File History

A) Select (dot) Not Configured or Disabled, click/tap on OK, and go to step 7 below. (see screenshot below)

NOTE: Not Configured is the default setting.


 6. To Disable File History

A) Select (dot) Enabled, click/tap on OK, and go to step 7 below. (see screenshot below)

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7. When finished, you can close the Local Group Policy Editor if you like.






Enable or Disable File History in Windows 10 OPTION TWO Enable or Disable File History in Windows 10
To Enable or Disable File History using a REG file

Note   Note
The .reg files below will add and modify the DWORD value in the registry key below.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\FileHistory

Disabled DWORD

(delete) = Enable File History
1 = Disable File History


1. Do step 2 (on) or step 3 (off) below for what you would like to do.


 2. To Enable File History

NOTE: This is the default setting.

A) Click/tap on the Download button below to download the file below, and go to step 4 below.

Enable_File_History.reg

download


 3. To Disable File History

A) Click/tap on the Download button below to download the file below, and go to step 4 below.

Disable_File_History.reg

download

4. Save the .reg file to your desktop.

5. Double click/tap on the downloaded .reg file to merge it.

6. If prompted, click/tap on Run, Yes (UAC), Yes, and OK to approve the merge.

7. If you like, you can now delete the downloaded .reg file.



That's it,
Shawn