Windows Timeline: What it is, How it works, and How it activates

Windows 10 came as an improved and modern operating system. There have been many new features in the system since its launch, but with each newer release, many new features have been added to Redmond’s Windows 10.

Specifically, with the big update of April 2018, one of the main new features was what we know Timeline, which many users already use, and yet there are still many people who do not know about this feature.

Windows Timeline
Windows Timeline

If you already know what it is and have used it ever since, you certainly know it perfectly, but without just hearing it and still not dare to use it, we will show below what is the timeline or timeline of Windows 10 and how to use it.

What is Windows Timeline or Timeline

As the name suggests, this is a function that is responsible for gathering everything we have been doing in recent days. This way, if we want to restore a document that we edited last week, which website we visited yesterday, or which application we used 15 days ago, we can do so quickly and easily with this feature.

Specifically, what the timeline does is internally collect all the applications and documents we have used and save the history for the last 30 days. This way we can get back what we did a few days or even weeks ago.

To offer quick access to the timeline, Microsoft has created access to a new view of tasks from the system tray itself. This feature is compatible with multiple devices, so we can restore what we did from any Windows 10 computer using the same Microsoft account.

However, it is also possible to specify on which devices we want to store a history of what we do and which we do not.

How to enable or disable the timeline

To start using the Windows timeline, we must first make sure that this feature is enabled. When we enter the task view for the first time, the bulleted icon that appears next to the Cortana icon on the taskbar will be offered the option to activate from there.

In any case, you can also enable or disable the timeline at any time on the System Configuration page. For this:

  • Open Settings on the Windows 10, Win + I page or from the gear icon of the Start menu.
  • Select the Privacy option.
  • Select the Activity History option from the menu on the left.
  • Select the ‘Save my activity history to this device’ checkbox.
  • Select the ‘Send your business history to Microsoft’ checkbox.
  • We make sure to activate the switch that shows the activities of our user account.

The Allow Windows to collect my activities on this computer box is one that gives the system the appropriate permissions to save our activity.

Otherwise, you will not be able to show us this in the task view and the timeline will not work. This means that information about the websites we visit and the way we use applications and services is also stored.

On the other hand, by checking the Send your business history to Microsoft box, we give permission to go back to what we were doing, even from another device.

All information will be synchronized with the cloud associated with our Microsoft account, so we can restore it when using another computer.

To completely disable the timeline , in addition to unchecking the boxes above, you will need to view my activity history on this device and submit my history to Microsoft on the Activity History Settings page under Privacy on the Configuration page, you will also need to:

  • On the same page, scroll down to View Account Activity and make sure the switch or switches are in the OFF or Disabled position.
  • Below you will find the option Show activity history, where we will have to click the Delete button.
  • If you also sign in with a Microsoft account, we’ll select the Manage your account activity information option and delete all information stored in the cloud.

How the Windows timeline works

To access the timeline of our activity, just click on the task view icon icon, which will appear on the taskbar. Next, a window will open in which everything we are currently opening on our desktop will appear, and immediately below it it will start displaying all the applications used in chronological order from the newest to the oldest.

On the right side, a slider will appear, with which we can move in the history of our saved activity for the last 30 days. This way, we simply slide down and view the entire history of the programs we use on our computer, websites visited from the Microsoft browser, documents created or edited, songs listened to, videos played, and more.

All this information is displayed in chronological order, so the last thing we do or use will be the first thing we think. We will have to move down when we want to restore something we have been working on much longer.

In the upper right part there is also a magnifying glass icon, which offers us the option of searching on the timeline or on the timeline.

We can simply write the title of a document or information searched on the Internet so that we can quickly move to the day we worked with that document, that we visited the website in question, or used a specific application.

With a single click on any document or activity displayed on the timeline, we restore what we want with overall speed and ease.

Common timeline issues

Although the feature is activated correctly, it is possible that nothing appears on the timeline or that we are missing some activities.

The timeline is not visible

In this case, we need to make sure we have the latest version of Windows 10, which we can do by simply going to the configuration page and under System by clicking About. There we will see if our team has the same or higher version than Windows 10 1803.

If not, we will need to enter Updates and Security on the configuration page and click Check for Updates to install the latest version of Windows 10.

Another possibility is that we have deactivated the activity view without realizing it. In this case, just right-click on an empty space on the taskbar and select Show Task View.

Activities are missing

It’s important to know that the timeline will show us up to 30 days of activity if you log in to your computer with a Microsoft account, otherwise we’ll see that simply configuring this option will only display 3 or 4 days of activity.

In any case, if we find that there are certain activities that are not displayed on the timeline, we should check the configuration:

  • Open the Configuration page.
  • We enter Privacy.
  • Select the Activity History option.
  • Make sure that the Allow Windows to collect my activities on this computer check box is selected.
  • Selecting the Allow Windows to sync my activities from this computer to the cloud check box is also checked correctly.

However, some activities may not be displayed because not all are compatible with the Windows 10 timeline. Over time, we can see how other types of activities are displayed.

Weakened activities

It is possible that as we move, we find that some of them are more attenuated than others. This is because the application we use to create this activity is no longer installed on our computer, so it is very likely that even if we click on it, we will not be able to open and restore it.

If we have moved or deleted them to another route, we will not be able to reopen them from the timeline.

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