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Backup and Recovery of Windows 8

New features make backup and recovery easier and more powerful!

Have you recently downloaded Windows 8 RTM?  In this article, we'll introduce you to the new options available for making Backup and Recovery in Windows 8 easier than ever, including Windows 8 File History, launching Windows System Backup and Windows 8 Refresh & Reset PC.  Use these options to define your backup and recovery plan so that you'll be prepared to restore the system and your data when needed.

Windows 8 File History
File History is a new feature in Windows 8 that allows you to setup a schedule for automatically saving copies of documents located in your Libraries, Contacts, Favorites or SkyDrive to an external drive or network location.  File History can be leveraged for those situations where you need to recover an older version of a particular document that you've overwritten.  To turn on File History, use the Control Panel -> File History applet and click the "Turn On" button.

After you've turned on File History, you'll then be able to further customize your Advanced settings, such as schedule (default = every hour), # of versions (default = all versions) to keep and % of disk space (default = 5%) to use for caching changes when your File History location is offline.  In addition, you can Exclude folders that you may not want to include in your File History, perhaps if you have applications that already use built-in versioning to save documents to your Libraries.

When you're ready to restore files from File History, click the "Restore personal files" link located on the left panel of the File History applet.

Launching Windows System Backup
Windows System Backup is still included in Windows 8! To launch the Windows Backup tool, open the Control Panel -> Windows 7 File Recovery applet and click the "Set up Backup" button.  Alternatively, you can launch "sdclt.exe" from the Command Prompt to start this applet.

All of the old familiar options are there!  Using Windows Backup, you can backup a full system image or selected files & folders to an external drive or network location.  You can also create a system repair disc for repairing and restoring the system in the event that you encounter any boot issues.

Windows 8 Refresh and Reset PC
Sometimes, a system becomes so infected or corrupted that it's easier and safer to just reset the operating system and applications back to a "normal" factory default out-of-box (OOB) experience.  In Windows 8, you have two options to make this process easier than ever: Refresh (which resets the OS and applications without losing your documents and other personal files) and Reset (which resets the OS and applications and removes everything else).  You can also create a Recovery Drive on a USB flash drive so that you can perform a Refresh or Reset operation even if your PC isn't bootable.

You'll find these new options in the Control Panel -> Recovery applet, along with other familiar tools like System Restore.

What do you think about these new Windows 8 Backup & Recovery features?  Will they make your life easier as an IT Pro?

HTH,

Keith

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Keith Mayer is a Technical Evangelist at Microsoft focused on Windows Infrastructure, Data Center Virtualization, Systems Management and Private Cloud. Keith has over 17 years of experience as a technical leader of complex IT projects, in diverse roles, such as Network Engineer, IT Manager, Technical Instructor and Consultant. He has consulted and trained thousands of IT professionals worldwide on the design and implementation of enterprise technology solutions.

Keith is currently certified on several Microsoft technologies, including System Center, Hyper-V, Windows, Windows Server, SharePoint and Exchange. He also holds other industry certifications from IBM, Cisco, Citrix, HP, CheckPoint, CompTIA and Interwoven.

Keith is the author of the IT Pros ROCK! Blog on Microsoft TechNet, voted as one of the Top 50 "Must Read" IT Blogs.

Keith also manages the Windows Server 2012 "Early Experts" Challenge - a FREE online study group for IT Pros interested in studying and preparing for certification on Windows Server 2012. Join us and become the next "Early Expert"!