System protection is needed to be turned on your computer to be able to use the previous version restoration feature. If your computer already has system protection turned on, you can skip to the section on Restoring with Previous File Versions.

To turn system protection on:

Step 1 – Click on Start > Control Panel > System

Step 2 – Click on System Protection on left hand side for the System Properties dialog box to come up

Click on drive you wish to turn system protection on for and click on configure

Step 3 – When System Protection for the chosen hard drive comes up you will be able to choose between the options available, choose, restore system settings and previous versions of files, if hard drive does not contain the operating system, you can choose, only restore previous versions of files. You will also be able to set Disk Space Usage, once you set percentage to be used, click OK.

Restoration with previous file versions in Windows 7 is a built in feature that gives the ability to recover files from earlier versions of that same file. What they are is either copies that Windows Backup made or that Windows automatically saves as part of its restore points, in case you ever need to restore your computer to an earlier time.

With Previous versions you will be able to:

  • Recover a file you may have deleted and not found in the recycle bin
  • You will be able to compare a previous version of a file with a the current version
  • Restore files that you may have accidentally overwritten.

To look for previous versions of a file:

Step 1 – Open file location in file explorer

Step 2 – Once you have located the file in file explorer, right-click on the file for the context menu to appear, and click on properties, and click on Previous Version Tab to see previous versions available.

Step 3 – Select date for the previous version you would like to open, click Open, do not click Restore just yet, that way you will be able to view the files before restoring, in case you only need one to be restored, and not restore all the files in that directory.

Step 4 – Once you find the file or files you wish to restore, you can copy them and paste them on the current directory or folder, by copying the files instead of restoring the entire folder, you will make sure to leave the rest of the files in their current state and not overwrite unneeded files.