Technology Training

What is a File History Drive?

What is a file history drive?

File History takes snapshots of your files as you go and stores them on an external hard drive either connected over USB or your home network. Over time, File History builds up a library of past versions of your documents that you can recover if need be.


  • You’ll see this message if your File History drive has been disconnected for too long. If you’re backing up to an external drive (like a USB drive), make sure it’s connected to your PC. If you’re backing up to a network location, go to SettingsUpdate & security  > Backup and reselect the network.
  • After you’re reconnected, wait for the next scheduled backup or start a backup manually by selecting SettingsUpdate & security  > Backup > More options > Back up now.

The error: File History drive is disconnected

Always keeping your data backed up and updated is a crucial routine. Thanks to File History, you can easily create backups for your files in Windows 8/8.1/10. Sometimes, you may find that your File History drive is disconnected. The specific error message may vary:

✦ “Reconnect your drive. Your File History drive was disconnected for too long. Reconnect it and then tap or click to keep saving copies of your files.”

✦ “Your files will be temporarily copied to your hard drive until you reconnect your File History drive and run a backup.”

When a scheduled backup task is triggered, it will prompt with such an error. By default, File History will save copies of files every hour, so it may be quite annoying if you do not fix it, not to mention that your files are not protected.

Why is File History drive disconnected in Windows 10/8.1/8?

Following are some possible reasons for the File History drive disconnected error:

  • If your external hard drive is indeed disconnected, you can reconnect the drive. Or if you do not want to backup your files anymore, just turn off File History.
  • If you can open and view the File History drive in File Explorer in Windows 8/8.1/10, then the backup drive may be failing or file system is corrupted.
  • If you have made some changes to your drive after backing up files to it with File History, then it is likely that File History doesn’t recognize this drive.
  • If you have also connected this drive to another computer for backup, another user may have restricted your permission to access this drive.


Solutions to File History drive disconnected

Solution 1: Reconnect File History drive and restart backup

If your external hard drive used for File History backup has been disconnected for too long, you will be asked to reconnect your drive. You need to manually reconnect the drive and then start the backup as the following:

  1. Navigate to Settings Update &Security Backup.
  2. Reselect the external hard drive or network drive.

Tips: You can also set another drive to save File History backup. To do that, you can click More options in File History, scroll down to the Back up to a different drive section, and click the Stop using drive button. Then, you can select a new drive using Add a drive again.

Solution 2: Check and fix hard drive errors

If you doubt there might be some errors on your hard drive, then you can first check your hard drive for bad sectors.

1. In Windows 10, right-click on the Start menu and choose Command Prompt (Admin). In Windows 8/8.1, you can press Windows + R key and type in “CMD” in the Run window and press Enter.

2. In the Command Prompt window, type in chkdsk.exe /f H: and press Enter. You should replace the “H” with the drive letter of your backup disk.

  1. It will take some time to finish checking and fixing hard disk errors.
  • If the value of the bad sector is not 0, then the disk is probably damaged or inclines to fail. For your backup data’s security, you should clone the failing hard driveto a new one and use the cloned one as the backup drive.
  • If you see no bad sectors, then the problem is not with the backup disk. It might be the configuration files that cause this error. In this case, please refer to Solution 3.


Solution 3: Clean up File History configuration files

If you cannot simply connect the File History drive again to fix the error, you may delete the configuration files and then reconnect it.

 Note: This method will delete all the File History backups, so it is recommended to create another backup of your files before trying this method.

  1. Make sure you are able to view hidden files. You can open File Explorer and go to the “View” tab on File Explorer’s ribbon. Then, do following things:
  • Check the Hidden itemscheckbox in the Show/hide section.
  • Click the Options In the Folder Options window, click the Viewtab and UNCHECK Hide protected operating system files (Recommended) under Advanced settings.
  1. Navigate to the folder below and delete all the files in it:


Tips: You can also type “%localappdata%\Microsoft\Windows\FileHistory\Configuration” in a Run window to open this folder directly.

  1. Go back to File History and connect the drive again.

Solution 4: Create a shared folder to save File History backup

If you only want a specific folder to save File History backup, you can create a shared folder on your external hard drive or internal drive and then use File History to backup to this folder. Some users struggle to let File History backup to the internal drive, and this workaround definitely works. To do that, just follow these steps:

  1. Create a new folder named File History Drive or whatever suits you.
  2. Right-click on the newly created folder and select Properties.
  3. Click on the “Sharing” tab and select Share…to create a shared folder. You need to add users you want to share with and set the Read/Write permission.

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