By Lily / Last update August 20, 2021

Overview of File History vs. Backup

As the most fundamental data recovery solution, backup is always needed. Microsoft provides built-in backup tools for Windows users:

  • File History: it automatically creates incremental backups of files stored in Libraries (including those for users participating in a HomeGroup) to a different storage device like an external hard drive or network share. You are allowed to add other folders to be backed up or exclude certain folders. This feature is added on Windows 8 and later versions.

  • Backup and Restore: it enables users to create system image backups as well as file/folder backups. You are able to restore your system and personal data from the backups created earlier. It was first included in Windows Vista as the replacement of NTBackup. Removed on Windows 8.1, it is back on Windows 10.

Now you have the basic understanding of File History and Backup and Restore. How to choose between the two tools? You can learn the elaborate differences between File History and Backup from the next part.

Windows File History vs. Backup in different aspects

Here I’ll compare Windows 10 File History with Backup and Restore in three aspects:

#1: Windows 10 File History vs. Backup in backup contents

File History takes a regular backup (hourly by default) of your desktop, documents, music, photos and videos and other files contained in your user folder. Backup and Restore allows you to backup the system, entire drives as well as files in your user folder. You can also create a system repair disc with Backup and Restore.

#2: File History vs. Backup in backup destination

File History backs up files to an external hard drive or your home network. It refuses to use an internal drive as the backup destination. Backup and Restore supports backing up to internal or external hard drives and also the network location. Cloud drives are not supported by both File History and Backup and Restore.

#3: File History vs. Backup and Restore in recovery

File History creates a complete history of your files. If the originals are lost, damaged, or deleted, you can restore them. You can also browse and restore previous versions of your files even if they aren’t deleted or lost. Backup and Restore enables you to restore files to the version backed up on the date you select. You can also restore a system image when your computer malfunctions.

File History or Windows Backup? That depends on your demands. If you just want to backup files in your user folder, File History is the best choice. If you want to protect the system along with your files, Windows Backup will help you make it. Additionally, if you intend to save backups on internal disks, you can only choose Windows Backup. Is there an all-around backup utility that can meet your needs in different situations? Please read on.

More advanced backup utility for Windows – free AOMEI Backupper

AOMEI Backupper Standard, the best free backup software, provides more practical functions than Windows built-in tools. It offers you four types of backup: System/Disk/Partition/File Backup. All the backup types support backing up to internal or external hard drives, network location and NAS devices. You are also allowed to backup to cloud drives using File Backup. To save disk space and improve backup efficiency, you can make use of the incremental and differential backup features.

All Windows PC operating systems like Windows 10/8.1/8/7/Vista/XP are supported. However, if you are running Windows Server operating system, please turn to server backup software. I’ll show you how to use AOMEI Backupper to create a backup in detail. Take system backup as an example:

Step 1. Download, install and launch AOMEI Backupper. 

Download Freeware Win 10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Step 2. Click on “Backup” and select “System Backup”.

System Backup

Step 3. The required system partition(s) is (are) selected by default. Choose the destination path to store the backup files.

Select Destination Path

Step 4. Confirm the operation and click “Start Backup”.

Start Backup

>> Options: you can enable email notification, choose the compression level for the backup image file and select intelligent sector backup or sector-by-sector backup.
>> Schedule: you can set the backup task to run automatically at fixed intervals.
>> Scheme: it will delete old image files automatically to save disk space for you. You need to upgrade to AOMEI Backupper Professional to enjoy this feature.

✎ Note: 

To restore from the backup you have created, you can go to Home, find the backup task and click Restore. Or you can click Restore on the left pane > click Select Task or Select Image File and follow the wizard to finish the recovery process.

System Restore


File History or Windows Backup? You can learn Windows 10 File History vs. Backup in different aspects from this page. To enjoy more advanced features, you may pick AOMEI Backupper. Other than the backup and recovery functionalities, it is able to clone. You can clone SSD to larger SSD in Windows 10 via AOMEI Backupper. Go for it right now!