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CrashPlan Support

Separately Backing Up Multiple User Accounts On One Device

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.


By default, all user accounts on a computer use a single instance of the CrashPlan app. In version 4.3 and later on OS X and Windows, you can install the CrashPlan app per user so that each user on the computer accesses a separate instance of the CrashPlan app.

This article provides considerations and instructions for per-user installations of the CrashPlan app. If you want a default installation, see the general installation instructions.

Backing Up Multiple Users

What Installation Type Should I Choose?
Unless your computer requires unique security settings for each user account, Code42 recommends the default installation (for everyone).

You can back up multiple users on a single computer by installing for everyone (default), or installing per user. When you install the CrashPlan app per user, each installation can have a separate user account with its own settings, license, and archive.

Installing per user is necessary if each user should have unique security settings. The table below explains how security features in per-user installations are different than a default installation.

  Install for everyone (default) Install per user
Username & password Single username & password for all users on the computer Individual username & password for each per-user installation

Encryption key

Single encryption key for all users on the computer

Can have individual encryption key for each per-user installation

Backup permissions

Can back up any file on the computer, aside from those contained in admin exclusions

Can only back up files that the individual user account can access, aside from those in admin exclusions
Backup activity Backs up at all times, regardless of whether users are signed in to the device Backs up only when the associated user is signed in to the device
Backup archive Files included in the backup file selection back up to a single backup archive, regardless of user Each per-user installation backs up to a unique backup archive
Encrypted file system Supports encrypted files, folders, drives, and file systems that are run at a system level (for example, FileVault on OS X Lion and later) Supports encrypted files, folders, drives, and file systems that are run at the user level (for example, Windows Encrypting File System)
CrashPlan app and CrashPlan tray access Application and tray are visible to all users on the device. The application can be accessed by any user by default. Application is visible only to the user who installed the app and can only be accessed by that user.

Can restore any files or folders within the backup file selection

Can only restore files and folders the individual user account has backed up

Considerations For Per-User Installations

Review the considerations below before installing the CrashPlan app per user.

System Requirements

  • Per-user installation is supported on OS X and on Windows 7 and later.
  • Only one per-user installation is supported on a single Linux device. Multiple per-user installations are not supported.

Licensing & Subscriptions

When you install per user, each user or computer requires a license or subscription. To back up to the Code42 cloud, each per-user installation must have a subscription. You may cover each user with an individual subscription, or each user can count as a single device on a family subscription.


When you install per user:

  • The CrashPlan app cannot back up files and folders that the user does not have permission to access.​ The CrashPlan app relies on the user's system permissions to access and back up files.
  • The CrashPlan app cannot back up when the user is signed out of the computer.

Volume Shadow Service (VSS)

(Windows only)

On Windows, CrashPlan coordinates with VSS to back up open files. When the CrashPlan app is installed per user, the CrashPlan service does not have full access to VSS. As a result, files that are left open may not back up regularly. If files are not backing up, the history log reports, “Unable to backup n files”. If this occurs, CrashPlan will try again later; if the file is closed, then backup will succeed.

Backup Does Not Reach 100%
VSS may not have access to system and application files included in your backup file selection, which can prevent your backup from completing. CrashPlan isn't designed to back up system and application files, and we don't recommend adding these files to your backup selection. Additionally, since CrashPlan isn't designed to restore your operating system or applications, there is no advantage to backing up these types of files.

Installing Per User And For Everyone On The Same Device

You can install the CrashPlan app using both installation types on a single computer. You may want to use both installation types to keep backup data for individual user accounts separate while also allowing an administrative account to back up all data on the computer.

If you need to use both installation types on a single computer, you must:

  • Install the CrashPlan app only once for each user account on the computer. Do not install both per user and for everyone using the same user account.
  • Install the CrashPlan app per user first, for as many user accounts as needed. Install the CrashPlan app for everyone only after you complete the per-user installations.
  • To prevent other administrative users from accessing the for-everyone installation of the CrashPlan app, we recommend enabling the option to Require account password to open the CrashPlan app.

Installing The CrashPlan app Per User On Windows & OS X

  1. Sign in to the computer.
    The per-user installation of the CrashPlan app is applied to the signed-in user account.
  2. Download the CrashPlan app installer.
  3. Open the CrashPlan app installer:
    • Windows: Double-click the CrashPlan installer file and follow the prompts.
    • OS X: Double-click the DMG file, then double-click Install CrashPlan.
  4. When prompted for Installation Type, choose the option to install the CrashPlan app for your user account:
    • Windows: Select Only for me and continue the installation.
    • OS X: Select Change Install Location, then choose Install for me only and continue the installation.
  5. Create or sign in to your CrashPlan account.
  6. Repeat the installation for each user account on the computer.
OS X Contacts, Reminders, And Calendars
After backup starts, OS X prompts for access to your contacts, reminders, and calendars. Click Ok to allow CrashPlan access to back up the contents of your user folder. If you select Don't Allow, CrashPlan will back up everything other than your contacts, reminders, and calendars.

Changing A Current CrashPlan app Install To Per User

If the CrashPlan app is installed for everyone on your computer, and you want to install per user instead:

  1. Perform a complete uninstall of the CrashPlan app.
  2. Install the CrashPlan app for each user account.
  3. Adopt your previous backup.
    Only one user can adopt the previous backup.