How to Restore Files from File History on Windows 11

This post shows students and new users steps to restore files and folders from File History in the event the original are lost or damaged. File History regularly backs up your files in your home folders. However, File History will not backup your apps and system settings. These can be reinstalled and reconfigure anytime.

But your important documents, when lost or damaged, those can be almost impossible to replace, and that’s why File History is designed to only backup your important files.

To read more about how to set up a back up process with File History, you can read the post below:

How to Backup and Restore in Windows 11

When you have File History running on your machine and you want to restore a missing or damaged file, you can simply use the steps below. File History allows you to browse your backed up data, letting you flip through different versions of your files and folders, comparing them with your current versions.

When you find a better version of the file you want to restore, simply select Restore to get the file back to its original location. We’ll show you how to do that below.

To get started with restore files via File History, follow the steps below.

How to restore missing or damaged file on File History

As mentioned above, File History allows you to quickly restore missing or damaged files back to their original location. Below is how it’s done.

Click on the Start menu, then search for and open the Control Panel app as shown below.

When the Control Panel app opens, click System and Security category group.

Next, click File History as shown below to open the File History panel.

On the File History panel, click the Restore personal files link as highlighted below.

Click on the Previous (CTRL + Left Arrow) button or Next  (CTRL + Right Arrow) button at the bottom to navigate through the different versions of your backed up files and folders until you find the date you want to restore a version from.

Select the file or folder you want to restore, then the restore button as show below.

By default, File History will restore to its original location overwriting anything there. However, you can use the control option to restore to another location as show below.

You’ll have different option available to use when restoring.

  • Folder: To restore an entire folder, open it so you’re viewing its contents.
  • Files: To restore multiple files, open select and open each file to make sure they’re the correct files to restore.
  • One file: To restore an earlier version of a file, open that file from inside the File History window.

Once you chose to restore a file or folder, and the destination already has the same content, you’ll be prompted.

These are your options:

  • Replace the File in the Destination Folder – Select this option only if know for sure that the older file is better than the current file. This will overwrite the current file in that location with the backed up version.
  • Skip This File – Select this if you don’t want to restore the file or folder.
  • Compare Info for Both Files – This option lets you compare the files’ sizes and dates before choosing which one to keep.

Select the restore option, then exit File History.

That’s it!


This post showed you how to restore item via File History. If you find any error above or have something to add, please use the comment form below.