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CrashPlan Support

External Drives: To Rotate Or Not To Rotate

Applies to:
  • CrashPlan for Home
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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.


If you have an extremely large backup set where large amounts of new files are constantly being added (e.g., you are a professional photographer or professional filmmaker), you might consider backing up to an external hard drive for convenient and faster restores. In this scenario, many people opt to swap in another external drive and rotate out the other external hard drive to an offsite location. When CrashPlan detects the swap, it will sync with the drive and continue the backup wherever the drive left off.


If you delete a file that you've backed up to Drive A, the backup of that file now only exists on Drive A. When you swap in Drive B, you are not able to restore that deleted file from that drive. Similarly, versions of files exist only on the original drive to which you have backed up.

Backing up to multiple destinations

CrashPlan does not limit how many destinations you can use. We recommend backing up to multiple destinations in addition to your external drives. You can view example configurations in the Choosing Destinations article.

Seed your initial backup locally

If you have a large backup set, you can seed your initial backup locally, bring the backup to your offsite location, and then continue over the Internet from where you left off. Seeding makes automatic offsite backup a realistic option for people even on the slowest of connections, especially if one of your offsite locations is down the street or across town.

Once the initial backup is complete, it's quite easy to stay current, as CrashPlan automatically de-duplicates and compresses new files or changes to your existing files before they're backed up. This means the amount of data transmitted is comparatively very small.