In my last article for Windows System Protection, I looked at how to access System Protection in Windows 7. In Windows 8.1, there are multiple ways to access the System Protection functions. In this article, I am going to look at two of the methods. Most of the methods are very similar to the first method I am going to look at.
This first method is just one way that users can access System Protection in Windows 8.1.
1. Right-click on the Windows Start flag in the bottom left corner of the display.
2. Click on System.
3. Click on the System Protection link in the left frame.
From this point, the use of System Protection functions using the same processes used with Windows 7.
The second method that I am going to look at is for accessing System Restore in Windows 8.1. A new interface was introduced in Windows 8.1 and accessing System Restore is significantly different using this method. Use of this part of System Protection is intended to resolve issues in Windows 8.1. As with the other method of using System Restore, the computer will need to be restarted but with this method, there will be multiple restarts needed. The first restart is necessary to load the Advanced Boot Options as the System Restore is part of that functionality. As part of the restore process, there will be at least one more restart required.
To access System Restore in Windows 8, please use the following steps to open System Restore.
1. Move the mouse to the bottom right corner of the display and wait for the Charm bar to open. Once the Charm bar is open, click on Settings.
2. On the PC Settings window that opens, click on Update and Recovery.
3. Click on Recovery.
4. On the Recovery screen, click the Restart Now button below Advanced Startup.
5. The computer will reboot into the Advanced Boot options menu.
6. The next screen that loads has three options. Click on the Troubleshoot option’s button.
7. The screen that loads lists three options. The three options are Refresh your PC, Remove Everything, and Advanced options. Select the Advanced Options button.
8. The next screen will have 5 or more new items listed. These options are System Restore, System Image Recovery, Startup Repair, Command Prompt, and Startup Settings. Some systems may also have an option for UEFI Firmware Settings (it may also be called BIOS Firmware settings depending on the computer’s motherboard configuration). Select the System Restore option.
9. Select a user account to continue. In this case, the account I am using is my Ralby account.
10. Enter the password for the account. Click the Continue button.
11. From this point, Windows 8.1 loads the System Restore wizard used in Windows 7. The process for restoring the computer uses the same steps that were used in Windows 7. For more information on that process, please see my Using System Protection in Windows 7 article.
Restoring Previous Versions of Personal Files
In Windows 8.1, Microsoft removed the Restore previous versions option when users right-click on a file to get to its context menu. Instead, Microsoft now has a feature called File History that they have introduced. File History is located in the Update and Recovery section of PC Settings. File History stores copies of users’ personal files
To access File History, use steps 1 – 3 above but select File History instead of either of the other two options. The File History window and its options will load.
From this screen, users can enable and configure File History. To enable File History, slide the toggle on the slider bar to the right. Next, users can select the drive for storing the file versions on if they need a different drive than the one selected. Network drive locations can be used for storing the file versions if desired or needed. Once File History is turned on, it will start to perform an initial backup of users’ personal files. To perform a manual backup, users will need click the Back up now button.
To restore the files saved by File History, use the steps below.
1. Left-click on the Windows flag icon.
2. Type File History while the Start screen is displayed and Windows 8.1 will search for any programs or tools using that name.
3. Click on the Restore your files with File History option to load the following window.
4. From here, users can browse through the folders just like users can do with File Explorer. To change which version of the files are being opened, users will need to use the arrow keys in the bottom middle of the File History window.
File History can also be accessed through the Control Panel. When the View by: is set to Category, select the System and Security option and then select the appropriate item in the File History section. Users can also select the Save backup copies of your files with File History option listed under System and Security to open the File History screen. For users set to show Large or Small icons, click on File History.
On the left side of the File History window are options for restoring personal files, selecting the hard drive for storing the file versions, a section allowing users to exclude folders or libraries from being backed up, and an advanced settings section. The Restore personal files option opens the same window shown in item 3 above in this section. Select drive allows users to choose where to save the backed up personal files. The Advanced Settings section allows users to select how often to make copies of the files, how much space to allocate for storing the files, and a duration for keeping the saved file versions. Users can also recommend the selected drive to other members of the same Homegroup as well as view logfiles for recent issues.
I’d like to add a comment regarding the multiple ways that System Protection can be accessed. The first method above is just one way of getting to System Protection. There are at least 6 different ways I could have given directions for. All of the variations are different only in the steps used to open System Protection. For example, System Protection can be accessed using the Control Panel or it can be accessed using the steps in the first method above. If anyone would like to know the other steps, feel free to ask me in the comments below or email me at the link in my bio. Otherwise, I hope the information in this article is helpful if you need to use System Protection or System Restore in the future. I do recommend using restore points as they can be very beneficial. There have been numerous times in the past that using System Restore saved me from having to reinstall my operating system and all applications.