Backing up Windows 8 Part 4 – Previous versions

In my humble opinion this is the Holy Grail of backups.  Easily restore files without the need of managing backup media or backup schedules.  So here is the deal: leveraging existing technology (Shadow Copy – or in this case Volume Shadow Copy Service) Windows 8 (and Windows 7) take snap shot backs up of your data.  Once a file gets changed you can go to the folder and look at previous versions of the file.

Of course there are a few hoops to jump through before you get your “cake and eat it too” utopian data resiliency moment – okay: a bit exaggerated but it is good 🙂
1) You have to have System protection turned on
Go to Control Panel-> System -> and click on System Protection on the left.
Here you have to click on the “Configure” button in the “Configure restore settings” section.
Turn on System Protection
previous version system protection

2) On the System Properties windows, in the system protection tab: create a restore point.  This is what Windows will use as a baseline when it attempts to determine if there is a previous version available.
3) Okay, you’ve done the hard parts.  If you have read the other articles on backups I have written you are now so close you should be able to smell it… almost.  Here is another hook.  Previous versions is seen as a network/file server function. When you go to your C: or D: drive and look at the folders you will not see the options to recover from Previous Versions.  All that work for nothing!?  Not true.
Open File Explorer and type \\localhost\(Drive letter)$
Localhost tells your computer to look at itself.  Drive letter is the letter of the drive in question (C:, D:,E:,…) and the $ lets you access hidden administrator shares (which is what the root shares are.

Once the PC finds localhost\(drive letter) you can then browse the file structure, right click the file/folder in question and there will be the tab for Previous Versions.  Click this tab and it will show a list of files copies that are availableprevious version file

And so, there is the list of options to which you can recover!