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Windows 8 "File History" Backup feature - can't select external drive.

Since receiving my DV7-7205 I've been trying and failing to setup a working file backup system using both Windows 8 File History and Windows 7 Backup and Restore.

 

The main problem I seem to be having with File History (which seems, on paper, to be very useful and potentially powerful backup tool) is that it will not (consistently) let me kselect the drive to which I want to copy / backup files. This seems to be rare as I've not seen any other forum post with similar issues described, so if you know about how this works, then I'd be gratefule if you have the patience to read the full story.

 

I have a WD USB3 Passport (2TB) attached which houses most of the file I wish to backup (Lightroom catalogues, photos, movies, etc) and a Seagate Goflex Desk USB3 (2TB) which I want to use as my backup drive. There is other "stuff" on both drives already, but I don't expect that would casue any problems. The Seagate had been used alongside my previous Windows 7 PC.

 

When I initially plugged in the WD drive, I was offered the option of setting up File History with it, and the same for the Seagate. I managed to setup a File History "plan" with my all of my photo and movie folders added to my libraries and other stuff excluded as necessary.

 

The first run of the File History backup appeared to be fine and the Seagate had all of the files backed up on it. Great, I thought, set and forget...

 

The next day, there had been no backups made and there was an error in the File History front page that the drive (Seagate) was not valid. Please select another drive, it said. When I tried to do this, neither the WD nor the Seagate could be selected, even thoughboth are full accessible in Windows explorer and to my applications. The WD drive would "allow" File History when I try "Autorun...", but I don't want to use this drive. The Seagate would not allow this selection, so I tried all sorts of things and eventually changed the Drive Letter from "H:\" to "X:\". Suddenly I could use it again for FIle History, so I left it to run as scheduled.

 

Next day, the same error and the same inability to select the Seagate - I haven't tried to change the drive letter again as I don't consider this a fix if I have to do it every day.

 

So I have had to turn off File History and explore alternatives.

 

Any ideas?

 

Much appreciated, 

 

Greg

 

PS - I've had different, but no less frustrating, issues with Windows 7 Backup, where time and again the backup fails becasue it reports that some files had to be skipped. The files in the Backup Error Log don't even exist and never did as far as I can tell. The error recurrs time and time again and I can't tell which Library or Folder Tree in the selected items is the culprit - it's rubbish. Ideally, if I can get File History working, then I'd be happy.

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Windows 8 "File History" Backup feature - can't select external drive.

With File History being the new direction for Backups in Windows 8, I wouldn't be too surprised if Volume Shadow Copy was not running in the services.

Review this thread on Microsoft's forums.  It lists how to disable Volume Shadow Copy, but follow the steps in reverse to ensure it is running.  The Windows 8 units I looked at had Volume Shadow Copy set to manual and was not running.  This has been known to cause various issues with Windows Backup previously and I wouldn't be surprised it if it was the same here.

 

I'm not certain what's happening with File History and the Seagate drive.  I searched the Internet for answers, but didn't find anything that was useful.  It does appear this is a very rare issue based on the lack of results I had in my searches.  This is a feature that is part of Windows 8, so contacting Micorosoft support via e-mail support (typically free, but policy may have changed) or contact Seagate since it repeatedly becomes invalid.  

 

 

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Windows 8 "File History" Backup feature - can't select external drive.

Hi - thanks, I really appreciate your time. The stuff I've found on the Seagate drive is a litle flaky and there's nothing definitive.

 

I'll look into the Shadow Copy notes and see if there's something there too, but in the meantime, I stripped everything back to square one again, and deleted most of the stuff that was on the target Seagate drive and suddenly it was recognised by File History again. I have an old copy of Memeo Premium from an old WD drive and now have that running (it's got its own quirks, but it's a great instant always on backup system.

 

Only once I'm sure I've understood everything about File History will I consider switching back.

 

Thanks again...

 

Greg

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Windows 8 "File History" Backup feature - can't select external drive.

You are welcome.  I'm glad you have a solution to backup your files at this point. 

 

Here is Microsoft's site regarding File History.  It's not as rich in information as I would like, but it is a good starting point.  It does have links to the problems that may happen and gives some vague explanations, but it is a starting point.

 

Here is just a little more information about File History.  File History only backs up libraries (documents, pictures, etc.), contacts, favorites and the desktop.  This means it doesn't give the option by default to backup files not stored in the default location, but there is a way around that.  Any folder can be added to a library or a new library can be created for the locations you want to backup.  The blog linked below covers how to add a folder to a library or to create a new library from the others.

 

This blog discusses File History in a little more detail. 

 

I like to keep my files in non-default locations (documents, pictures, etc.), so File History wouldn't be an immediate option for me if not for the library workaround.  I could add my personal folders to the Documents Library, or create a new library for it all together, to get File History to backup what I really wanted without restructuring where I save my files. 

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Windows 8 "File History" Backup feature - can't select external drive.

Thinks for this information. I've been looking for days for the solution. Out of all the suggestions I've found on line, this is the only one that was truly successful.

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