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Northwestern University

CrashPlan PRO Backup Service

CrashPlan PRO is a user-friendly computer backup program licensed for NU-owned computers for faculty and staff of the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What files does CrashPlan PRO back up?

CrashPlan PRO backs up files from a user's home directory, including the Documents and Desktop folders. File types include documents, emails, and images.

2. What files are NOT backed up?

Certain files such as disk images and music files are excluded by default. Please see the backup exclude list for the full list of excluded files and directories. If you have a business or research reason for a different exclude policy then please contact us to discuss your case.

3. How often does CrashPlan PRO check for new files or changes to back up?

CrashPlan PRO checks for new and modified files every 15 minutes, and sends them to the server right away.

4. Where does CrashPlan PRO send a copy of my files?

CrashPlan PRO sends an encrypted copy of your files to an NU-hosted server and disk array located at the University's Evanston data center.

5. Can I also have CrashPlan PRO send a copy of my files to other locations, such as to a USB hard disk?

Yes, you can set up additional backup copies for your use:

  1. Run CrashPlan PRO.
  2. Sign in with your NetID and password.
  3. Click on "Destinations" on the upper left side.
  4. Click on "Folders".
  5. Click "Select" to choose a folder on an external drive.
  6. Click "Start backup".

6. How long does CrashPlan PRO keep my backed up files?

Files that still reside on your system are stored indefinitely on the backup server. Whenever a file is changed, a new version is captured and backed up every 15 minutes. CrashPlan PRO stores a number of versions of each file, based on the age of the revision:

  • A 15-minute snapshot for up to 7 days;
  • A daily snapshot for up to 90 days;
  • A monthly snapshot for older than 90 days.

Files that you have deleted from your system are kept on the backup system for 90 days.

7. How do I perform a file restore from my computer?

  1. Run CrashPlan PRO.
  2. Sign in with your NetID and password.
  3. Click "Restore" on the upper left side.
  4. Select the desired files and directories.
  5. By default the most recent versions of the files and directories will be restored. If you prefer an older version, click on "most recent" to choose a different backup date and time.
  6. By default the restored files will be placed on your desktop. If you prefer a different location, click on "Desktop" to switch between the options of "Desktop", "Folder", and "Original Location".
  7. By default the restored files will be renamed if they conflict with already existing files with the same name. If you prefer the restore to overwrite the already existing files, then click on "rename" to toggle between "rename" and "overwrite".
  8. Click on "Restore" to start the restore.
  9. Once the status shows the restore being complete exit the CrashPlan PRO application. It will continue running in the background performing backups.

8. Can I perform a restore if I don't have access to my computer?

Yes. You can perform a restore from the web interface. Note that there is a limit of 250MB when restoring files through the web interface.

  1. Using a web browser go to the CrashPlan PRO backup server.
  2. Log in using your NetID and password.
  3. Click on the "My Computers" tab.
  4. Click on the computer you want to restore data from.
  5. Click on "Restore files".
  6. Select the files and directories you want to restore.
  7. Click "Restore".
  8. Click on the "Click here to download your restored files" that appears once the restore is completed. If more than one file was restored then the files will be bundled into a zip file.
  9. Click on "Sign out" to log out of the backup server web page.

9. Will running CrashPlan PRO slow down my computer?

Based on our testing we did not notice much performance impact from running CrashPlan PRO. CrashPlan PRO is configured to use very little CPU time while the user is using the computer. If you have an older computer and feel that you want to tell CrashPlan PRO to use even less CPU time while you are present you can modify the setting.

  1. Run CrashPlan PRO.
  2. Sign in with your NetID and password.
  3. Click on "Settings" on the upper left side.
  4. In the "general" tab modify the "When the user is present, use up to X percent CPU". By default this is set to 30. Set it to a lower number to have CrashPlan PRO use less CPU time.
  5. Exit the CrashPlan PRO application. It will continue running in the background performing backups.

10. How long will it take for my initial CrashPlan PRO backup to run?

The initial backup time varies depending on the speed of the computer, the network connection, and the amount of data being backed up. In our testing a year-old computer plugged in to the campus network was able to back up 50 GB of data in four hours. Most computers left plugged in to the campus network and unattended should be able to back up overnight. Users backing up from the wireless network or a home network may take longer.

11. Does CrashPlan PRO work off-campus?

Yes. CrashPlan PRO can perform backups of your computer from any location with an Internet connection.

12. How do I know that CrashPlan PRO is working?

By running the CrashPlan PRO program on your computer you can see the last time a backup was performed.

  1. Run CrashPlan PRO.
  2. Sign in with your NetID and password.
  3. In the Backup Destinations section click on the small information symbol. CrashPlan will then show you the last time it backed up to the CrashPlan PRO server, when it is backing up next, and how much data has been backed up.
  4. Exit the CrashPlan application. It will continue running in the background performing backups.

13. How do I know if CrashPlan PRO is not able to back up my files?

By default, CrashPlan PRO sends you an email if it is unable to perform a backup for 3 business days.

14. How do I change the email notification settings in CrashPlan PRO?

  1. Run CrashPlan PRO.
  2. Sign in with your NetID and password.
  3. Click on "Settings" on the upper left side.
  4. Click on "Backup".
  5. In the Backup Status and Alerts section click on "Configure".
  6. By default CrashPlan only sends a warning if backups have not occurred for 3 business days. You can also activate backup status reports, and further alerts if backups continue to fail.
  7. Exit the CrashPlan application. It will continue running in the background performing backups.

15. Who can use CrashPlan PRO?

CrashPlan PRO is being made available to all University-owned computers used by faculty, staff, and graduate students in Weinberg.

16. How do I get CrashPlan PRO?

CrashPlan PRO is being rolled out in stages to Weinberg departments during fall quarter of 2011.

17. How much does CrashPlan PRO cost?

Weinberg is funding the cost of CrashPlan PRO. There is no charge to each user or department in the college.

18. Can I use CrashPlan PRO on my home computer?

The Weinberg funded CrashPlan PRO backup service is intended for NU-owned computers. The vendor does offer a home service called CrashPlan+ for a small monthly fee.  To view information about this option, please visit the CrashPlan+ website.

19. What operating systems does CrashPlan PRO work on?

  • MacOS: 10.5.x and newer. (Note: For 10.7.x and newer, Java must be installed.)
  • Windows: XP, XP 64bit, Vista, Vista 64bit, 7, 7 64bit.
  • Linux: 2.6 series kernel and Java 1.6.
  • Solaris: 10, OpenSolaris.
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