A collection of frequently asked questions about backup settings, capabilities, and how CrashPlan works in general. Some settings are controlled by your system administrator and may not be adjusted.
If you delete files from your system, they remain backed up and in your backup archive forever, as long as:
You can make backup go faster by increasing the resources CrashPlan can use.
More information about increasing back up speeds is listed in our Speeding Up Your Backuparticle.
By default, CrashPlan backs up every 15 minutes. You can specify as often as once a minute.
CrashPlan always backs up automatically. The software is designed for automatic backup to ensure your protection and is not dependent on human intervention. You do not have the option to run CrashPlan manually. Between automatic backups, however, you can force CrashPlan to back up on demand. Just click the arrow at the end of the backup progress bar.
Typically, users find that they can leave CrashPlan always running without detecting any noticeable effect on their computer.
CrashPlan will email you when the Warning and Critical times have passed. Warning time is 7 days. Critical time is 14 days.
If you want the best protection, we recommend these settings:
If CrashPlan consumes too much network or CPU while you are using the computer, go to Settings > General or Settings > Network and change the settings appropriately to reduce the allowed CPU usage or network bandwidth. It's much better to adjust the throttle settings than to only allow CrashPlan to run between specified times.
On average, you can expect your CrashPlan backup to progress by at least 10 GB of information a day, as long as your computer is powered on and not in standby mode. That's the equivalent of:
Install CrashPlan on the new computer under your existing account. Then choose to adopt a previous computer via the message window on the Backup screen.
No. CrashPlan can't back up when the source or destination computer is asleep or off. Backup will resume after the computer wakes up or is powered on.
No. There is no way to move your backup to a server that's geographically closer to your location or with a lighter user load. To improve backup performance, modify your settings to speed up your backup, and be aware that your backup speed may not match your available bandwidth.
CrashPlan breaks down the files into their component parts in order to transmit and store them efficiently, which means they are not stored in a readable format. The component parts are stored inside a folder named after the source computer's ID in chunks of 4 GB. By default, all files are compressed and encrypted before leaving the source computer.
There are times when CrashPlan does not allow you to manually start backup by clicking the play button on the Backup tab:
Deselect the file from your backup selection. The file will be removed the next time the regularly scheduled archive maintenance job runs—or as soon as you click the Compact button for that destination.
If a computer has not connected to our servers to report progress, you'll receive an alert.
The data savings can vary greatly based on the type of files being backed up. For example, text documents compress extremely well, but movies do not. However, we typically observe 10-30% savings in disk space as a result of compression and de-duplication.
After initial backup of the file is complete, only new or changed information is sent when the file is backed up.
When CrashPlan scans a file, it knows that the file changed and the progress bar runs through the file as if the information is new. But as it goes, it discovers the information hasn't actually changed and only transmits the new information to the backup destination.
For the technically savvy: CrashPlan does incremental deltas by block within the file.
As part of the backup process, CrashPlan regularly performs archive maintenance which removes, or “prunes,” file versions in accordance to your file retention settings.
Occasionally, CrashPlan's advanced data de-duplication needs to rescan your files. When this happens, CrashPlan looks exactly like it is backing up your data again, but it is actually scanning each block to see if it has been backed up already. Progress goes much, much faster than if you were backing up all over again, and your files are still available for restore during this process.
By default, CrashPlan keeps more of your recent versions and less of the older ones. CrashPlan for Home subscribers can further refine the rules for keeping versions over specific periods of time, or even keep an unlimited number of versions.
More information is available in the Specify Version Settings article.
If something happens to your file, you can go back to the version you need and restore it.
CrashPlan uses advanced data de-duplication and block level incremental backup. At a very basic level, this means that once a file is backed up, only subsequent changes are sent to your backup destination. For example, CrashPlan is smart enough to know that only paragraph two in your letter to Grandma has changed and will only send the data from paragraph two to your backup destination, not the whole file. You're able to recover either version of the file.
Versions in excess of your specified number to retain are pruned during the regular archive maintenance routine, which runs weekly by default (Settings > Backup > Inbound backup from other computers) or when you push the Compact button from the source.
CrashPlan has two ways of verifying your files are backed up: the real-time file watcher and the file verification scan (Verify backup file selection every X days). So if, for some reason, the real-time watcher didn't flag a file for backup, the file system scan would still catch and back up that file.
The scheduled file verification scan also checks your system for deleted files. A file will show up as deleted only after the automatic scan has run.
The raw speed depends almost entirely on the machine doing the backing up and the type of data being being backed up. The source machine is handling all of the data de-duplication, compression and encryption, and it's doing that all at a very low priority setting so the computer is still usable while it's backing up.
During backup, CrashPlan provides a best estimate of how much time remains before the backup is complete. This estimate is constantly revised based on what CrashPlan encounters and what part of the process is taking place, so it is normal for the “time remaining” to fluctuate.
CrashPlan has to do some work to de-duplicate, compress and encrypt your files before it can send your information to it's destination. CrashPlan is designed to work in the background and not slow down your system while you're working, so by default, the resources allowed for performing this work are limited.
CrashPlan backs up the symbolic link file itself, but does not back up any of the folders or files the symbolic links points to.
If your drive is unmounted, CrashPlan is smart enough to know the drive is unavailable. CrashPlan does not treat the files as deselected.
The Compact button:
This process is also known as Archive Maintenance.
CrashPlan is designed for live backup of files, and not for archiving files.
This means that backup software like CrashPlan cannot be used like iDisk to add, update or remove files from any computer.
Comprehensive product documentation is available on our support site. You can also easily save PDFs of single articles or groups of articles to create your own customized collection of product documentation.
There are some types of files that CrashPlan excludes from backing up (called admin excludes) or hides from the file selection list (hidden files). You cannot change these settings. See What Is Not Being Backed Up for complete details.
Yes. On Mac and Linux, you can back up any open file. On Windows, CrashPlan uses Microsoft's Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS). However if you are backing up larger database files, you will want to read the following "Can CrashPlan back up my database?" question and answer below.
Yes. There are two ways you could do this:
Important Note: When backing up open files in place, there is always a risk of getting a corrupted backup on Mac, Linux and Solaris platforms, especially with large, random-access databases that change a lot, such as Entourage.
On Windows with VSS, this is not a risk as long as the application writing the files supports the VSS contract. Your database application must support VSS in order to back up open database files.
When backing up large, active database files, make sure you increase the backup interval to a few hours or more.
No. The CrashPlan app must be installed and running on both the source and the destination computers in order to back up with CrashPlan.
CrashPlan does more than simply send data. CrashPlan also encrypts, de-duplicates, compresses, and verifies the data during backup and restore to ensure the health of your files. For more information about the unique benefits of CrashPlan, see our Enthusiast’s Guide.
On the Backup tab, click the i icon Description: nformation icon below the progress bar to view number of files completed, number of files TO DO and disk used for any incoming or outgoing backup.
No. CrashPlan excludes its own backup archives from the file selection. This is hard-coded and cannot be changed.
If you'd like your backup data stored at multiple locations, simply back up your files to multiple destinations.
CrashPlan won't be able to back up to the server using the WebDAV protocol if that's solely how you use the server. If you fully control the server and can install a CrashPlan client onto it in user space, then you could back up to the server.
Yes, you can back up both Outlook for Mac and Entourage files.
Yes. Package files are folders “disguised” to look like single files, even though they contain multiple files. Like any other folder, CrashPlan supports backing up and restoring packages. However, only the following types display as a single file in the CrashPlan app:
.oo3, .rtfd, .app, .pages, .key, .service, .pkg, .mpkg, .bundle, .component, .kext, .clr, .slideSaver, .bnz, .svxSite, .graffle
You can still back up and restore packages not included in this list. They'll just appear as folders in the CrashPlan app. For example, to restore an Apple Numbers spreadsheet, select the entire folder from the CrashPlan app. Navigate to the location where you restored the folder and you will find that it displays as a single file.
Currently, we do not support backing up mapped drives. A full technical explanation and (unsupported) workaround can be found in our Back Up A Windows Network Drive article.
Yes. Please follow the instructions in the Enabling Windows EFS Support tutorial.
On Windows, CrashPlan uses the Volume Shadow Service (VSS) to negotiate with other applications over backing up files that are locked open. A primary example of this would be the Outlook pst file.
Make sure the Volume Shadow Service is enabled Automatically. If you've turned it on, reboot your computer to ensure all programs are using VSS properly. After VSS is enabled, the backup files log should reveal that files that were previously locked open and unavailable are now being backed up.
If your data is in files or volumes where VSS does not work, consider using an application-specific dump/export tool and let CrashPlan keep versions of the export. For example, Outlook has tools for automatically dumping its data on a regular basis.