PC & NETWORK

6 Ways to Fix “Your File History Drive Was Disconnected for Too Long” Error on Windows

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When it comes to recovering files on a Windows PC, you have various tools at your disposal. One of them is the File History feature, a tool that allows you to back up files to an external hard drive.

The only issue with this tool is that it often pops up error messages like “Your File History drive was disconnected for too long.”

However, such issues shouldn’t stop you from recovering your data. In this article, we’ll take a look at how you can get your File History tool up and running again.

What Is the Windows File History Tool?

Before we dive into fixing the “Your File History drive was disconnected for too long” error, we need to break down what File History is exactly and why it gives you issues.

File History is a Windows file recovery tool that backs up versions of your files to an external hard drive. It regularly scans your system and saves any changes to the files on your external drive. By doing so, it minimizes the risk of losing all of your data if the system crashes.

File History also allows you to restore different versions of your files. For example, if you want to restore an older file version, you can browse through a timeline, select the file version, and restore it.

Why Is File History Giving You Issues?

Woman frustrated in front of a PC

If you’re wondering why the File History tool is giving you issues, there are some potential causes of this problem:

  • As the error message suggests, you might indeed have disconnected your external hard drive. In this case, File History cannot back up your files to the external hard drive.
  • The backup drive or some of your PC files are corrupted.
  • You’ve made changes to the backup drive, and File History doesn’t recognize the drive anymore.

Let’s now take a look at how you can fix the File History tool.

1. Reconnect the Backup Drive

If you’ve confirmed that your external drive is disconnected, try reconnecting it and then rerun File History. Your PC should detect the drive and automatically resume the backup process. However, if the issue persists, you might need to repair the drive.

2. Repair the Connected Backup Drive

File History could sometimes give you issues even when you’ve connected the right external drive. In this case, repairing the external drive could help.

Here’s how you can repair your hard drive:

  1. Press Win + R to open the Run command dialog box.
  2. Type CMD and press Ctrl + Shift + Enter to open an elevated Command Prompt.
  3. Type the following command and replace the drive_letter command with the actual drive letter name:
chkdsk drive_letter:/f

For example, if your external drive has the name Local Disk (F:), your command should be:

chkdsk F:/f
Repairing a Corrupted Backup Drive

Press Enter and then restart your PC when the process completes itself.

3. Enable File History

You could run into this issue if the File History tool was disabled for a certain period. In this case, plugging your external drive and trying to recover your files won’t work.

To resolve this issue, you’ll have to enable File History and ensure that it’s regularly backing up your files.

Here’s how to enable File History:

  1. Navigate to the Windows Start menu > PC Settings > Update & Security > Backup.
  2. Click the Add a drive button under the Back up using File History option.
  3. Choose the appropriate drive in the next window.
  4. Finally, turn on the Automatically back up my files button in the Backup settings window.
Enabling File History via Settings

Alternatively, try enabling File History via the Control Panel by following these steps:

  1. Type Control Panel in the Windows search bar and select the Best match.
  2. Click the View by drop-down menu and select Small icons.
  3. Next, click File History from the Control Panel menu items.
  4. In the next window, enable File History by clicking the Turn on button.

Turning File History on

Follow the on-screen instructions to finalize the process. When you finish, close the Control Panel and restart your PC.

4. Change Your File History Backup Drive

Restoring your files to a different drive could help resolve this issue. Here’s how you can do this:

  1. Type Control Panel in the Windows search bar and select the Best match.
  2. Click the View by drop-down menu and select Small icons.
  3. Select File History from the Control Panel menu items.
  4. Next, click the Select drive option, select your preferred drive, and then press OK.
Adding a new backup drive

5. Add A New Network Drive

If File History doesn’t work on your external drive, try backing up your files to a network drive instead.

Here’s how to do this:

  1. Create a folder on a network drive and name it File_History_Drive.
  2. Right-click the folder and select the Properties option.
  3. Navigate to the Sharing tab and click the Share button.
  4. In the next window, click the drop-down arrow, Select Everyone, and click the Add button.
  5. In the new window, click the Everyone option from the usernames and select the Read/Write option.

Selecting the read or write option

Once you're finished, click the Share button and click Done.

Next, navigate to the File History tool on your PC and add the new network drive. Here’s how:

  1. Type Control Panel in the Windows search bar and select the Best match.
  2. Click the View by drop-down menu and select Small icons.
  3. Next, click File History from the Control Panel items.
  4. In the next window, click the Select drive option.
  5. Click Add network location and select the File_History_Drive folder in the network drive.

6. Delete File History AppData

Deleting File History AppData might help resolve this issue. But first, you’ll have to ensure that your PC is configured to show hidden files and folders. Here’s how you can do this:

  1. Press Win + E to open File Explorer.
  2. Click the View tab on the top-left corner of the screen, click the Options drop-down menu, and select Change folder and search options.
  3. In the next window, navigate to the View tab and check the Show hidden files, folders, and drives option. Finally, click Apply and then click OK to apply these changes.

Showing hidden files and folders

Next, delete the AppData folder by following these steps:

  1. Press Win + R to open the Run command dialog box.
  2. Type AppData and press Enter.
  3. Next, navigate to Local > Microsoft > Windows.
  4. Right-click the File History folder and click Delete.

Your File History Problems Are Now Resolved

You can always rely on the File History tool when you want to back up your critical Windows data. In case this tool gives you issues, try one of the solutions we’ve provided. But if File History still gives you problems, you might want to check out Windows’ other file recovery tools.

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