Reconnect a file history drive in Windows

Windows File History feature allows you to back up your data to an external device. This is an easy-to-use and useful tool to protect your data, but you can sometimes get error messages saying “Your file history has been disconnected for too long”.

If this is the case for you, don’t worry. Here’s how to reconnect your File History drive.

What is file history and what causes it to disconnect?

File History is one of Windows’ built-in backup features and was implemented to replace the original backup and restore feature in Windows 7 and earlier. It is used in Windows 8, Windows 10 and Windows 11. The tool implements a scheduled backup to make copies of your files to an external hard drive so that they can be restored in the event of a system failure.

The unique aspect of File History is that it does not overwrite previously backed up files. Instead, it stores each backup individually. This means that after a few Windows backups, you will have a full timeline of each file as it has changed over time, and you can restore an older version of any file even if it has not been deleted or lost.

The problem is that users report various errors that prevent File History from backing up. These claim that you need to reconnect your File History drive because it has been disconnected for too long.

This error can have several reasons:

  • You disconnected the external drive to which File History was connected.
  • You changed the external drive and Windows no longer recognizes it.
  • The external drive is damaged or is not working due to a disk error.
  • The backup file system is damaged.

So, how can you reconnect the File History drive in Windows?

Reconnect the external drive and restart file history

The first thing to check is that File History is not turned off and that your external drive is still connected. Double-check that the external drive is connected and working, then do the following:

  1. press the Windows key l to open the Settings app.
  2. Click Update & Security
  1. Select backup
  1. below Backup with File History, check whether the setting is on or off. If it is enabled, disable the service and then enable it again.
  1. if it says Add a driveclick on it and choose your external drive.
  1. Select More options
  1. Click Backup now to start backing up your files.

If it works, File History should now be resolved.

Using a new external drive

If you think the external drive is faulty, the easiest option is to use a new drive. To do this:

  1. Open SettingsWindows and Security backup as above.
  2. below Backup with File HistoryClick More options
  1. Scroll down and select stop driving
  1. Go back to File History settings and click Add a drive
  1. Select the new drive.
  1. Click More options again.
  2. Select Backup now

Alternative:

  1. Open the Home menu and type Control panel† Select it.
  1. Click System and security
  1. Click File history
  1. Click in the left menu Select station
  1. Choose the other drive you want to switch to and click Okay
  1. Click run now to start the backup process.

The problem with this method is that the original backups remain on the old hard drive. However, this usually doesn’t matter as you now have updated backups on the new drive.

Restore the backup disk

If you don’t have another external hard drive to use or if you want to keep the backups on the original drive, you can try to restore it before reconnecting it to the File History utility.

Until check and repair a hard driveyou can use the Windows Chkdsk troubleshooting tool:

  1. press the Windows key R to open the Run dialog box.
  2. Type cmd and press enter.
  1. In the command prompt window, type chkdsk.exe /f E: (replace “E” with the drive letter of the one you are trying to repair).
  1. Wait for the wizard to finish. It fixes all the errors it can and lists the errors it couldn’t fix.
  2. If this doesn’t fix your drive, the last resort is to clone your drive to a new hard drive.

Delete file history configuration files

People have also reported that deleting the File History AppData can fix the error.

Remark: Before proceeding with this step, make sure to manually backup the File History backup as it will delete it for good.

To remove the File History configuration files, you must first be able to see hidden files:

  1. Open Explorer and select the Vision tab.
  1. Select Options from the top right corner of the window.
  1. In the new window, select the Vision tab.
  1. In the Advanced settings panel, make sure Show hidden files, folders and drives has been checked and Hide protected operating system files (recommended) is not checked.
  1. Click Okay

To delete the AppData files:

  1. In File Explorer’s address bar, type %localappdata%\Microsoft\Windows\FileHistory\Configuration and press Enter
  1. Delete all files in this folder.
  1. Open SettingsWindows and Security backup as above.
  2. Select Add a drive and reconnect your drive to File History.

Use a network drive

Some Windows users report problems backing up their file history to an internal drive. If this is the case and you don’t have an external drive to use, try backing up to a network drive.

To do this:

  1. Create a new folder where you want the backup. call this File History Drive or something you will remember.
  2. Right click on the folder and select Properties
  1. In the Parts tab, select Part…
  1. For all users, click the drop-down menu below permission level, select Reading writingand click Part
  1. Open SettingsWindows and Security backup as above.
  2. Click More options
  1. Scroll down and click View advanced settings
  1. Click Select station from the left menu.
  1. Click Add network location
  1. Double-click the network device where you created the folder (your PC).
  1. Highlight the File History Backup folder and click Select folder

Keep your files safe

Backing up your data regularly is the only way to ensure that it is not deleted or lost in the event of an accident. Windows File History is an excellent tool for this, but there are several others to choose from if the error doesn’t go away, including OneDrive and Google Drive.

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