File History Not Working on Windows 11: 4 Cases & Solutions

File History not working on Windows 11? Here is a detailed guide on how to fix common problems and offers a free File History alternative to backup your data.


by Jonna Lasted Updated April 11, 2024

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Why is my File History not working on Windows 11?


Hey folks, I recently upgraded to Windows 11, and I'm having trouble with File History. It used to be a breeze on Windows 10, but now it's giving me grief. Any ideas or fixes for why File History isn't working on Windows 11? Thanks a bunch for the help!

-User Case from Microsoft Community

File History is indeed a valuable feature introduced in Windows 8 and continued in Windows 10 and Windows 11. Creating Windows 11 backup with File History is easy for everyone to back up specific folders to another drive. But sometimes, you may encounter problems like, File History not working on Windows 11. There could be several reasons like, viruses, file/folder errors, storage issues, and so on. Here are several common solutions, keep reading!

Windows 11 File History not Working

Troubleshoot File History not working on Windows 11 in 4 Cases

Windows evolves with each new version, and it often introduces new features and backup options. However, File History in Windows 11 operates similarly to Windows 10. But there is one notable change, that is, in Windows 11, you are restricted to backing up only preset folders.

If you have issues with File History like, Windows 11 File History not backing up all folders, you can find solutions in the article. Here I list several common scenarios and solutions, let's check them out!

Scenario 1: File History not backing up all files and folders on Windows 11

File History, a convenient backup tool, can sometimes cause issues where it fails to back up specified folders. There are some methods you can choose to resolve this problem:

Method 1: Modify long filenames and deep directories:

You have to verify if the files that were not backed up have exceptionally long filenames or if the directory structure is extremely deep. If you find that the filenames are excessively long or the folder structure is too deep, consider simplifying the filenames or reorganizing the folders to reduce the complexity to solve File History not working on Windows 11.

Method 2: Force a Refresh:

If the issue persists, you can attempt to force a refresh of File History:

Step 1: Open Start on Windows 11 > search Control Panel > click System and Security > hit File History.

Step 2: Click on Turn off and later click on Turn on.

Windows 11 File History

This action can sometimes resolve minor errors in the backup process. If the problem remains unresolved, you may need to take more action. You can access the target drive where File History stores backups and then delete existing backups or exclude folders that are already backed up to cloud drives.

Scenario 2: Windows 11 File History drive is disconnected

The "Reconnect your drive. Your File History drive is disconnected" error message typically indicates issues with the connection to the target drive or potential problems with the target drive itself. Here are ways to address this error:

Method 1: Reconnect and reselect the drive

Step 1: Ensure that the target device (drive) is properly connected to your computer.

Step 2: Navigate to Windows Settings > select UPDATE & SECURITY > Backup.


Step 3: In the File History settings, click Stop using drive to disconnect your current drive and Add a drive for backup as your target device. This action should re-establish the connection.

Add a Drive

Method 2: Run chkdsk command

Open Command Prompt from the search menu. Run the following command in it:

chkdsk.exe /f H: (replace H with the drive letter of your target device)

Command Prompt

Scenario 3: File History doesn't recognize this drive in Windows 11

When you encounter issues with Windows 11 File History not working and receive error messages like "it doesn't recognize this drive". Here are some solutions to address these issues:

Method 1: Reconnect the target drive and enable File History.

Method 2: Adjust File History service settings:

Step 1: Search for Services in the Windows search bar and open the Services app.

Step 2: In the Services window, locate File History Service > right-click on File History Service and choose Properties.


Step 3: In the Properties window, navigate to the General tab> find the Startup type dropdown menu and change it to Automatic. This ensures that the File History Service starts automatically with Windows.

Step 4: Click Apply and then OK to save the changes.


Scenario 4: Windows 11 File History not working on EFS files

Sometimes, Windows 11 File History stopped working may happen, when you attempt to back up encrypted files or folders that are protected by the Encrypting File System (EFS). When you receive error messages such as "File History has found files that are encrypted with Encrypting File System," you'll need to take steps to address this issue. Here's the solution to resolve this problem:

Method 1: Decrypt Encrypted Files

Step 1: Locate the encrypted file or folder that is causing the issue in File Explorer.

Step 2: Right-click the file or folder and select Properties > go to the General tab > click Advanced..., and you'll see an option that says Encrypt contents to secure data > uncheck the box next to Encrypt contents to secure data. > click OK to save the changes.


By decrypting the file or folder, you are making it accessible for File History to back up. You can also check the properties of each library and remove network path in Library locations.

Method 2: Remove Network Paths from Libraries

Step 1: Open File Explorer > in the left sidebar, under Libraries, you'll see libraries like Documents, Music, Pictures, and Videos.

Step 2: Right-click on each library and select Properties. You'll see a list of library locations under the Library locations section.

Step 3: Remove any network paths from the library locations by selecting them and clicking the Remove button > click OK to save the changes for each library.


Use File History free alternative to back up files with ease

If your File History not working on Windows 11 still persists after trying the solutions above, you can use CBackup to backup computer to OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox, and other public clouds on a single interface.

CBackup is a free cloud backup service, that supports you to backup files to multiple popular cloud storage services. Also, it offers you 10 GB of free CBackup Cloud to store your data and you can use it to combine your different cloud accounts, like combining two Dropbox accounts, to increase your storage space at no cost.

Let's see how to use it to backup to cloud, like backing up files to OneDrive:

Step 1: Download and install CBackup on your PC.

Download CBackupWin 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Step 2: Sign up with your email address and password and then sign in.

Step 3: Click Storage on the left side > add OneDrive to keep your backups >hit Authorize Now and complete the authorization.

Select OneDrive

Step 4: Click Backup on the left side > hit Backup PC to Public Cloud to create a new backup task.

Create Task

Step 5: Select files/folders on your local drive > choose OneDrive as your backups' destination > click Start Backup.

Start Backup Files to OneDrive

You can use File Filter to exclude files from OneDrive backup, like excluding PST files from OneDrive backup.   
With CBackup's Scheduler function, you can set an automatic computer backup at One time only, Daily, Weekly, or Monthly mode.  


The post lists some common scenarios and solutions for File History not working on Windows 11. Using File History, the built-in tool in Windows, is a convenient way to immediately backup your data and keep your files safe.

But if you encounter some problem in your PC or want to add folders in Windows 11 File History, you may have to worry about data loss and the limitations via File History. In this case, you can choose to back up to a cloud via the free and safe CBackup too. It allows you to backup files to Dropbox/Google Drive/OneDrive with ease and don't need to worry about data loss, file path/size limitations, and so on.

Jonna · Editor
Jonna becomes a professional in the areas of cloud backup and restoration, data protection, etc. after years of learning and researching. She maintains a keen eye for the latest technology trends, ensuring that the information provided is always in step with industry developments.

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