* File History Backup

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File History Backup

Post by Pentris » 29 May 2020 09:49

This post is just to let users know not to rely on, or possibly not use, File History to get back any old or lost file.

FH has very good methods of backing up your projects. If you are like me then I use extra backup methods. In the past I thought the inbuilt File History in the recent Windows versions was the way to go. It does however have a severe limitation which means it does not always backup every file as expected. Any file, when it is backed up in File History, has extra information added to the file name which is 26 characters long. It also has a maximum limit of 210 characters to its File Path Length. This means that it will only back up any files that have a File Path Length of 184 characters or less. Some of FH files exceed this length such as the FH Settings files e.g. 188characters 'H:\Family Historian V6\Family Historian Projects\FH Settings 2019-03-16\Family Historian\Program Data\Text Schemes\Standard\Birth, Baptism, Marr, Death, Burial, Rec Notes + notes, ages.fht' which as you can see is 188 characters long. Also I find that many Media files can be too long where they have sensible naming. In my FH Project folder I have 6479 files of which only 5170 get backed up.
This is partly due to the quite long hierarchy of the FH folder structures, and the ridiculous low limit of MS Windows use of File History well below the expected 255 maximum.

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Re: File History Backup

Post by tatewise » 29 May 2020 10:53

That is interesting and unexpected.
I have perfomed some Google searches for File History path limits, but the only limit mentioned is the default MAX_PATH limit of 255.

Instead of File History, I use the alternative Back up and Restore (Windows 7) for two reasons:
  1. My Win 10 system was upgraded from Win 7 and inherited that format of backups.
  2. I think it allows any disk drive to be used, and not just external drives like File History
I have just checked some files with paths in excess of 210 characters and they are included in the backups.
Mike Tate ~ researching the Tate and Scott family history ~ tatewise ancestry

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Re: File History Backup

Post by YorkieF » 18 Nov 2020 06:18

Just for info, I've been using SecondCopy version 7 to do all my backups for almost 10 years and just recently it has been showing errors with too long file names with Family Historian. Hence why I've seen this post.
I've upgraded to version 9 now and it handles the long file names with no problems. They have a trial version and it's certainly worth having a go.
I have no connections with SecondCopy apart from being a satisfied customer. :D :D

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Re: File History Backup

Post by Mark1834 » 18 Nov 2020 10:25

It's a common misconception that File History only works with external drives, but that is not my experience. Back in the days before I used OneDrive, I had a spare 250 GB hard disk from scrapping an old PC, and installed it into my desktop PC to use as a File History drive. It worked fine.

I converted to OneDrive when our broadband become good enough to support it, and stopped using File History as it was redundant (OneDrive also keeps earlier versions of files) but left the drive in place.

I've just re-enabled it now out of curiosity, and it still works as expected.
Mark Draper

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