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How to Back Up Your Surface

Your Surface does a remarkable job of backing up itself. Your Microsoft account remembers how you personalize your Surface, as well as the settings you change. It also remembers your e-mail accounts, calendar information, contacts, favorite websites, and even many of your passwords.

The Windows Store remembers the apps you’ve installed and purchased, making it easy to download them again. Any files you store on SkyDrive are backed up there.

That leaves the files you’ve stored in your Windows libraries. You can back those up on your Surface’s memory card or a portable hard drive with Windows 8’s File History program by following these steps:

  1. Insert your memory card or plug a portable hard drive into the USB port.

  2. Tap the pop-up notification that says Tap to Choose What Happens with Removable Drives.

    Don’t see the pop-up notification? Then unplug your drive or remove your memory card and wait a few seconds. Then reinsert it, watching so you can tap the notification.

    When you tap the notification, a second window appears, offering several options.

  3. Select the Configure This Drive for Backup option. Then, when the File History window appears, tap the Turn On button.

    Put your drive in a safe place, and remember to reconnect it often, so your Surface can create another, more recent backup.

    To view your backups, open the Desktop app, tap the Charms bar’s Settings icon, and tap Control Panel from the top of the Settings pane.

    When the Control Panel appears, open the System and Security section and tap File History. There, you see options for turning File History on and off, as well as a link on the left that says Restore Personal Files.

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