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File History Requires Windows Search

I’m working on my traveling laptop this week, so I’m on a different PC from usual. It’s my trusty bigger-screen Lenovo T420 (Sandy Bridge 2.8 GHz i7, 16 GB RAM, Plextor 256 GB mSATA SSD, and so forth). In checking over the system, I discovered that File History was turned off, and when I tried to turn it back on I got an error message to the effect that the Service wasn’t turned on or no enabled device was available. Neither of these conditions led me to a working File History, so I started spelunking on the Web.


Finding relief often means knowing what to ask for.

I found relief, as I often do, at, where I learned that Windows Search and Indexing must be turned on for File History to work. After I recovered from that “Doh!” moment, I ran the Indexing and Search troubleshooter which returned the service to normal operation. As soon as I had done so, I was able to turn File History back on, no sweat.

Now, all I have to do is figure out how Windows Search got turned off, and I’ll be able to understand how all this happened in the first place. I will also opine that although many Windows performance optimization and tuning resources recommend turning off Windows Search, none of them that I can recall (e.g. BlackViper is a favorite) point out that turning it off causes File History to become nonoperational.

Sigh. Windows: it’s a living, but sometimes, not a happy one!

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