Office Computer Backups (Crashplan) FAQ

What is Crashplan?

Crashplan Pro Enterprise is software that continuously backs up data files on your workstation as they are created or edited. The backup is saved both on the workstation and to a server. Individual files and folders can be restored or reverted to previous versions by the workstation owner through the restore console, and the entire backup can be recovered in the case of larger data loss.

What do I need to do?

Once the software is installed on your system, backups run automatically in the background and are not affected by your work patterns. Your computer must be on and connected to the Internet in order to back up. The Crashplan icon in the taskbar indicates the status of your backup.We recommend periodically testing your backup by recovering a recently saved file.

OS X: The CrashPlan icon is this Crashplan Mac Icon at the top right of the screen.

Windows: The Crashplan icon is this Crashplan Windows Icon at the lower right of the screen.

More information on file recovery and backup status for Mac and Windows users is available below:

What is backed up?

Crashplan is configured to back up files in your Users folders. Files not in this location will not be backed up. The software backs up your Desktop and Documents folders as well as browser bookmark files and local mail folders from standard web browsers and email clients.

What is not backed up?

Some file types are not backed up by default: Applications, Audio files, video files, software installers, disk images, and virtual machines. If you have a work-related reason for any of these file types to be included in your backup, contact the help desk and an exception may be made.

Faculty accounts are in a group that back up audio and video files, but not software installers, disk images, and virtual machines.

How does Crashplan work?

Once the software is installed and your computer is activated on our backup server, Crashplan will back up all of your files to a central backup server once. After that, it will copy new and changed files only.  Real-time data protection: Since replication is continuous, your data is backed up as it is saved and modified, not just daily or weekly.  Smart use of your local computer and network resources: If your computer is busy, Crashplan will adjust its operations so that it isn't competing with your other applications or bandwidth.

Self-service file recovery: If you accidentally delete a file, you can restore it yourself from a simple interface. (If your computer fails, Crashplan will allow ITS to restore all your backed up files to a new computer.) Please contact the Help Desk for more information.

Document versions: Crashplan saves several versions of a file so you can recover an earlier version of a document if needed.

"Roaming" backups for laptops: Crashplan can communicate with the central backup server from any Internet connection, which means the data on your laptop can be backed up even when you are away from campus.

What about my privacy? I'm not sure I want my files on a central server.

If files on your workstation aren’t backed up, you will not have the ability to revert to older versions or to recover deleted files. In addition, if the workstation’s hard drive fails, all the data on the drive can be lost.

If you wish, you can also create a folder called NOBACKUP (case sensitivity doesn’t matter) and store private files there. Crashplan will not copy any data from this folder to the server.

What about large data sets, and laboratory and research computers?

Crashplan is intended for the primary office computers of faculty and staff. Research, laboratory, and special-use computers often have unique software, configurations, and data storage setups that we have not tested. Similarly, Crashplan backup to our central servers is challenging for very large amounts of data.

If you would like to discuss a backup solution for the large data sets, or research/lab computers in your department, please contact your Academic Technologist who will work with you to assess your needs and help determine an appropriate solution.