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CrashPlan Support

Computer Identities: How They Work

Applies to:
  • CrashPlan for Home
Need enterprise or small business documentation?
This article is intended for CrashPlan for Home users. For Code42 CrashPlan and CrashPlan for Small Business documentation, read this page on our enterprise support site.

Overview

CrashPlan keeps a thorough and unique record of each computer's backup history, settings, and subscription information, which we call an identity. Typically, you don't need to think about your computer's identity unless you reformat your hard drive or start using a new computer. For users who want to know more, this article takes a deeper look at computer identities and what they mean for your backup.

How it works

When the CrashPlan app is installed on your computer, the app creates an 18-digit globally unique identifier (GUID) that serves as a way to identify that computer to the server and other backup destinations. The identity accompanies the GUID and contains information about your settings, file selection, history, and subscription.

Why your computer identity matters

  • All of your settings and subscription information are tied to your computer's identity
  • Your computer identity and GUID link the CrashPlan app on your computer to your backup destinations
Uninstalling CrashPlan
The CrashPlan app's uninstaller does not remove your computer's identity. If you sign out of the CrashPlan app, or uninstall the app without manually deleting the identity file, the identity stays the same even if you reinstall. When you sign in again, the CrashPlan app uses the existing identity to restore your settings and locate your backup archive(s).

Where is my computer identity?

  • The identity is stored locally on a computer's hard drive in a file named .identity. Typically, there is no reason to access this file.
  • A copy of the .identity file is also stored at each of your backup destinations within your backup archive.

Adopting a computer identity

In the following cases, a computer does not have an existing CrashPlan identity:

  • The .identity file has been deleted.
  • The CrashPlan app was installed on a new computer.
  • The CrashPlan app was installed on a computer whose hard drive was reformatted.

If you install the CrashPlan app on a computer that meets one of the above criteria and sign in with your existing user account:

  • A new identity is created.
  • Another computer is added to your CrashPlan account.

To reconnect to a previous identity, you can follow the adoption process. When you adopt, the CrashPlan app restores all of your previous settings and reconnects to your backup archive. This way, you can avoid starting your backup over on your new or reformatted computer.

Note: Refer to our troubleshooting article if you don't see the "adopt" option.