Can I Restore Old Versions of Files I Back Up?

Is Every Version of a File Backed Up and Available for Restore?

Is it possible to retrieve older "versions" of your files that you back up? Since most online backup services continually backup your data, does that mean that every individual backup is saved somewhere, ready to be restored if you ever need it?

The following question is one of many you'll find in my Online Backup FAQ:

"Can I choose to restore a file as it was yesterday, or last month, or last year, etc.?"

Yes, most services continually backup your data and yes, that means that each individual backup is saved and can be individually accessed.

This is called file versioning.

For example, if you create a new document on Monday, and then make a change to it on Wednesday, and then another change to it on Friday, three versions of the file have existed over that time frame. Assuming the online backup software is configured to look for changes, and backup those changes, at least once per day (most do so much more often), then all three versions of the file would be accessible via the restore options available from the online backup service.

The second part of your question alludes to how many versions of a file are kept and that's an important feature that differs from service to service. Most services offer either unlimited file versioning or some limited file versioning, usually 30 to 90 days.

If having access to every iteration ever uploaded of your backed up files is important to you, be sure to check into this before signing up.

Look for File Versioning (Unlimited) in my Online Backup Comparison Chart where I compare several of my favorite online backup services.

Below are some related questions I get about configuring and using an online backup software on your computer:

Here are more questions I answer as part of my Online Backup FAQ: