By Jessie / Last update May 24, 2022

Windows 10 vs Windows 11 File History: Key Differences

File History is a built-in Windows backup tool that will regularly backup your files in Documents, Music, Pictures, Videos and Desktop folders, as well as OneDrive files on your computer that are available offline.

After upgrading to Windows 11, many user report Windows 11 file history missing or select folder, this is because Microsoft makes some changes in the new system.  

Win 11 VS Win 10

#1: File History is no longer in Backup Settings Settings. This is the most obvious difference and it is hidden in the Settings option. You can go to  Settings -> System -> Storage -> Advanced Storage options > Backup options, then scroll down to Looking for an older backup and select Go to Backup and Restore (Windows 7). And you can still access it via Control Panel.

#2: File History add folder option is removed in Windows 11. This is another big change in Windows 11 File History and now you can only backup files in the user account folder or files in the subfolder. 

How to Backup Files in Windows 11 with File History 

By default, Windows 11 File History is disabled, to backup and restore files with it, you need to enable it first. And you have 3 ways in the following.

Way 1: Backup files with File History through Control Panel

1. Type File History in the Windows 11 search box and select it. It will open the Control Panel and direct you to Control Panel > All Control Panel Items (change View by option to Larger icon) > File History.

2. Then, click Select Drive to select external drive or network location.  

3. Then, click Exclude folders to add folders that you don’t want to backup.

File History Exclude Folders

3. Afterward, click the Turn on button to backup files automatically with Windows 11 File History. 

After enabling File History, you will see File History is on and Turn off button in the following. To disable Windows 11 file history, click Turn off button. Note this operation will delete all backups created before.

Turn On

Way 2: Backup files with File History using Edit Group Policy

Step 1. Click on the Start menu, then search for and open Edit group policy. 

Step 2. Navigate to the following path, double-click the Turn off File History settings and tick Disabled box and click Apply to enable File History in Windows 11.

Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\File History.

Disabled File History

Similarly, to disable File History in Windows 11, tick Enabled box and click Apply

Way 3: Backup files with File File History using Registry Editor

Step 1. Press Win+R to open the Run window and type regedit to open the Registry Editor.

Step 2. In the Registry Editor window, navigate to the following path. Then, right-click the Windows key, select New > Key and name it as File History.

 Computer/HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows

New Key

Step 3.  In the right pane, right-click the blank space, select New DWORD (32-bit) Value and name it Disabled.

Dword (32-bit) Value

Step 5. Double-click the new Disabled DWORD, set the value data to 0 and click OK to enable File History in Windows 11.

To disable File History in Windows 11, change the value data of File History to 1 and click OK to confirm it.

Enter 0

That's all the methods to backup files with File History in Windows 11. And the default schedule setting is hourly and the retention policy is forever.  In view of this, this software will not delete file history backup regularly, so the backup disk will be fulfilled sooner or later. And this problem will be accelerated if you have a large amount of files in the user account.

To prevent this potential backup issue at the beginning, it's suggested to change backup settings, for example, save copies of files daily and keep backup versions until space is needed. 

File History Advanced Settings

The Best Alternative for Windows 11 File History

Athough you can alleviate backup disk full issue by changing settings in File History, but it is not effective due to the limited schedule settings and a large number files you want to backup. And this issue is even worse because it does not compress the backup image. In this case, you need the best alternative for Windows 11 File History - AOMEI Backupper Standard

It provides you with more flexible backup frequency, for example, weekly backup. And it helps you minimize disk space usage with multiple features by default. 

It supports backing up specific files with different frequencies, such as, daily, weekly, monthly schedule backup. And you can further set backup date, time and interval.
It is usually used with incremental backup, which backup only changed files in a scheduled task. 
It is capable of compressing (normal or high compression) or splitting backup image to smaller one automatically.
It allows you to backup files to multiple storage devices, such as local drive, external drive, USB, HDD, SSD, etc.

Please download it to have a try! This free edition supports Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10, 11, XP, Vista, etc. For server users, try AOMEI Backupper Server.

Download Freeware Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

 (PS: The advanced edition will be a better choice if you want to resolve backup disk full issue completely. Its automatic backup cleanup allows you to delete old backup image regularly.)

Step 1. Open AOMEI Backupper Standard, click Backup > File Backup.

File Backup

Step 2. Click Add File or Add Folder, then select the files or folders you want to backup, even if it's outside the user account.

Add Folders Files

Step 3. Choose a destination path for your backup. You can choose to backup files to external hard drive, network location or NAS, cloud drive, etc.

Select Destination

Step 4. Click Schedule Backup to set daily, weekly or monthly backup for your files. To avoid the backup disk full issue at the beginning, you still need to set the compression level (normal or high), spliiting, incremental backup, etc.

The incremental backup is more demanding on file recovery. It requires one full backup and all the linked incremental backups. To simplify the recovery process, try differential backup on the professional version. And it still allows you to delete old backup image on a regular basis with different cleanup methods, such as, By quality, By time and By daily/weekly/monthly.

Schedule Settings General

Step 5. Confirm all your operations and then click Start Backup.

Start Backup

Summary

This article shows you the differences between Windows 10 and Windows 11 File History, and stepwise guide to backup files in Windows 11. You can choose to enable File History with 3 given methods, but it easily results in the backup disk full issue due to the limited backup settings and a large amount of files you want to backup. And it removes the Add Folder option in Windows 11, thus you cannot backup files outside user folder.

Thus, it's suggested to user Windows 11 file history alternative - AOMEI Backupper Standard. It supports flexible backup options (daily, weekly, monthly) and helps you minimize the disk space usage with different angles, such as, compress backup image, backup only changed files, directly delete backup files, etc. All in all, it's worth trying backup software!