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Server: Crash Plan

©Copyright 2012 by assassin @ assassinserver. All rights reserved. This guide and its contents are copyrighted by assassin @ assassinserver. This may be used for personal use by the purchaser only; users are forbidden to reproduce, republish, redistribute or resell and material from this guide without the permission of assassin @ assassinserver.


Table of Guides (with quicklinks):


Installing and Using CrashPlan

Hard drives fail.  Computer hardware gets lost, damaged, or even stolen. So Assassin HTPC has created a tutorial on how to use a program called CrashPlan.

There are many online options for backup storage of your critical PC files but one of our favorites is CrashPlan which is an online cloud service that offers different options for automatically backing up (and encrypting) all or some of your data to one of their servers if you create a paid account with them for as low as a few dollars a month. The program can be downloaded to Mac, PC, Linux and Solaris.

For this guide we have created an account for a single Computer with Unlimited Storage which is what we recommend for most users but explore the different account types and how much storage space you might use. Please note that while some may use this service for backup of their entire HTPC including media files (not recommended as a viable option for those with extremely large libraries) what we really recommend is to backup your irreplaceable files such as family photos, family movies, personal documents, etc.

To begin, go to their site and download the free backup software (Windows 7 64 Bit link here)

Once the application is finished and installed you’ll start to create your account using the on-screen prompts

Then click purchase

Again for this guide we chose the Unlimited Storage Space option for One computer (e.g. a HTPC server), but depending on your personal needs you may need to chose another option. You can always go to the account settings and change your account type later

CrashPlan gives you the option of creating a yearly or month-to-month account if you want to try it out for a bit. You’ll save a little bit of money by purchasing a longer account, and they also give you the option to auto-renew if you would like.

A few other options to consider are their restore plans. If you don’t want to wait to download all your data in the event that you need it (which is free but can take many days or weeks depending on the size of your data) they also include additional plans in case you need your data restored faster. In one plan they will ship you a blank hard drive with information on how to download your data back to the drive which by the looks of it is essentially using a torrent file to re-download your information to your computer.

The other option is that they send a hard drive with your information already loaded on it, which costs more and could take a little bit more time depending on the shipping rates you choose.

Once you’ve completed your purchase you’ll get your receipt that will review your purchase and show your license key. If you purchased your account using the same steps we show in the guide your license key should already be copied to the program, but if not, you’ll have to copy and paste it from your receipt.

Once your account has been verified it’s time to configure the program itself to schedule backups, set bandwidth allocation and so on.

First, let’s set the folder that you want to backup. Remember that once these are setup its is “set it and forget it” and CrashPlan will automatically update and upload whatever is placed in these specific folders. So make sure you set exactly what you want CrashPlan to upload.

Here I have selected some Administrator files from my server, data from my desktop PC, family camcorder movies, and of course family pictures

Next, you’ll need to set your idle timers. Personally I chose to set the idle timer to Three Hours (180 minutes) that way the program won’t be using resources while you’re trying to stream a movie from your HTPC to another device or downloading files, for example.

Under the Backup tab you can also schedule when CrashPlan will automatically upload your files. I recommend setting a time when you know you won’t be using your computer for streaming, downloading or uploading so CrashPlan won’t use additional resources you may need for playback and so on.

I personally chose to have the program run from 1AM to 6AM, everyday.

Under the security tab you can require a password to view the files under CrashPlan. This is completely optional as CrashPlan will already be encrypting the files while they upload to their online servers

If you do decide you want to add another computer you’ll have to do so in your account settings and then go to Destinations in the application itself (on the newly added computer) and follow the on-screen instructions to add it to your account

Once you’re ready to start your first back up (which will take quite a while depending on your total amount of data. For my home server it took almost 2 weeks for me to back up about 100GB of data) go to the Online tab within Destinations and click Start Backup. If you set up your backups to run at a scheduled time, they will automatically start at that time

You can always check the status of your backup by bringing up the CrashPlan application by right clicking on the tray icon by your clock and selecting “Show Application,” and then go to the ‘Backup” tab on the left-hand side of the application.  The first backup will take a very long time because it will be backing up all your data that you selected.  Subsequent updates will be much quicker because it will update only the changes but prepare for the first update to take a long time.  As you can see below, it took us about 21 hours to run our first backup at our office

CrashPlan is great in that after you set the folders that you want to have backed up it will automatically backup your data on the schedule you selected above. So, for example, when you come home from a family vacation and drop the pictures from your digital camera into your “Family Photos” folder CrashPlan will automatically upload these the next time it runs.

Another great service they offer is that every week they will send you a CrashPlan report showing you what is backed up, what new data was received, etc since your last weekly report. An example from my home server is below


CrashPlan Mobile App

Crashplan also has a mobile app that you can download for iOS, Android, and Windows Phones.

The app allows you to access your backed up files so you can view, edit, and download the files to your mobile phone so you can have all of your documents on the go!

A Crashplan+ Account is required to use the mobile app, so unfortunately you will NOT be able to use these features with the free trial version. The apps are free for all platforms.

Once you download the app (Which you can find at their website, the Amazon App Store, Google Play Store or the Apple App Store), all you need to do is log in to your account to gain access to all of your backed up files.

Once inside your account you can easily navigate through your files and choose to download them to your mobile app as shown in the example which is located in the Desktop folder for this example: Shipping Label.gif

If you edit the file on your mobile device it will automatically be uploaded back to CrashPlan with the changes intact and according to their site it will only upload the CHANGES made to the file itself. For instance, if you download a text document and edit it on your mobile device by adding a new paragraph it will upload the file with the changes intact!

Depending on which version you are using (iOS, Windows Phone or Android) if you delete the CrashPlan App from your phone the files may or may not still be on your device.

For more information, or to find out even more features that can be found in the mobile app please refer to the Crashplan Mobile App website:

©Copyright 2012 by assassin @ assassinserver. All rights reserved. This guide and its contents are copyrighted by assassin @ assassinserver. This may be used for personal use by the purchaser only; users are forbidden to reproduce, republish, redistribute or resell and material from this guide without the permission of assassin @ assassinserver.