How Windows 8 File History saved my career


How Windows 8 File History saved my career

There are only a handful of ways in which you can really hurt a man. Coming home to find a note from your wife, telling you she’s taken the car, the kids and shacked up with Graham Norton is less gut-wrenching than what happened to me this week.

At the click of a mouse button, my career was over. More than a year’s hard work had been ruined by a corrupted 65MB file that was seemingly unrecoverable. My hugely successful career ruined by a simple message:  “Your saved game could not be loaded”.

The career in question wasn’t this inconsequential day job. There are other magazines, other websites, other branches of McDonald’s requiring a floor sweeper, that could soften the blow of relinquishing my editorship. No, this was my burgeoning career as manager of Lewes FC in Football Manager 2011, a career which only hours before had reached the zenith of promotion to the Football League and victory in the FA Trophy.

I know Windows 8 is proving more divisive than the Berlin Wall, but File History almost makes it worth the $40 upgrade fee alone

For the uninitiated, describing Football Manager as a “game” is like describing War and Peace as a pamphlet. The game used to have a little counter saying how long you’d been playing that particular career for, but they had to abandon it because nobody knew what came after “eons”.  Just next week, the magnificent sports writer Iain Macintosh is releasing a new book called Football Manager Stole My Life: 20 Years of Beautiful Obsession. It was meant to be released in 2009, but…

Anyway, back to my problem. My saved game was inexplicably borked. My last PC backup was over a fortnight ago, and that would mean rewinding back half a season in the game, and having to earn that promotion and FA Trophy victory all over again. The game’s autosave feature, a built-in safety net for such corruption disasters, had seemingly been confused by me changing the saved game name file a couple of months ago, and hadn’t created a backup since June.

I was staring into the dugout of despair, mentally tearing down and whacking with a shoe the statue of me that the Lewes fans had erected in recognition of my ground-breaking achievement. And then… I remembered a little-publicised feature of Windows 8 that we talked about on the podcast a couple of weeks ago: File History.

I tapped “File History” into the Windows 8 Start Menu, choose Restore Your Files With File History from the Settings menu and started to hope. I’m slightly to the left of Richard Dawkins when it comes to religion, but I even let out a little prayer.

The File Recovery menu is astonishingly well designed – much simpler and far more obvious than the similar Restore Previous Versions facility in Windows 7, which is buried away in a file’s Properties menu. I simply navigated to the saved game file location, and scrolled back to find a copy of the game that was saved only the day before. I restored the file to my desktop, fired up Football Manager and… the game loaded first time.


Never in the history of Southern Railway has a passenger smiled so broadly on one of its trains. I could have kissed the ticket inspector. Yes, I needed to replay the FA Trophy match. Twice, in fact, as I lost it the first time and felt I deserved a second chance to reclaim what was rightfully mine. But my career had been saved, and saved by Windows 8.

I know Windows 8 is proving more divisive than the Berlin Wall, but File History almost makes it worth the $40 upgrade fee alone. It’s a feature that genuinely could help save someone’s actual career, not merely a make-believe one.

If you see Windows 8 get a glowing six-star review when we finally get our hands on the gold code, you’ll know that the will of the editor has prevailed…

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