Earlier today, Microsoft posted an in-depth overview of its File History backup manager on its Building Windows 8 blog. The utility made its debut in the Windows 8 Consumer Preview and includes several usability improvements over previous versions that will help it take on Apple's Time Machine.
In an effort to make things easier for consumers, File History can be activated without having to configure any options. Once enabled, it will copy data from your Libraries and other areas every hour, including previous versions. Microsoft has also centralized the restore interface. If you're inside a folder that's already been backed up, clicking the File History button will bring up a dialog window containing backed-up files and each of their previous revisions. The utility even takes measures to preserve battery life for portable devices, like laptops and tablets. Whenever a CPU usage spike is detected, File History will automatically pause a backup to optimize performance and energy efficiency.
In addition to usability tweaks, the new backup manager is intended to encourage more frequent backups. In Microsoft's blog post, it says that "[fewer] than 5% of consumer PCs use Windows Backup and even adding up all the third party tools in use, it is clear nowhere near half of consumer PCs are backed up." While we'll have to wait until October to find out whether this new tool yields more frequent backups, focusing on usability certainly isn't a bad way to start.