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CrashPlan Support

07: Start Your Backup

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.


Once you've decided what files you want to back up, and which destinations you want to use, your job is almost done! Now all you have to do is click start, sit back, and let CrashPlan do its thing.

Ready, set, back up

From the Backup tab, simply click Start Backup to begin backing up to a destination like CrashPlan Central or an external hard drive.

Start backup

Backup status and progress

Once you start your backup, we encourage you to close the CrashPlan app and let your backup continue to work behind the scenes. Understandably, though, many people want to know how their backups are progressing.

To expand details about the number of files remaining, the number of files completed, and your current sending rate, click the more info more info icon. CrashPlan estimates the total time that it will take to upload your files based on current network speeds and what type of data it encounters. However, because your speed will fluctuate, this estimate will fluctuate as well.

How much can I expect to back up to CrashPlan Central in a day? (CrashPlan for Home only)

On average, you can expect your CrashPlan Central backup to progress by at least 10 GB of information a day, as long as your computer is powered on and not in standby mode. That's the equivalent of:

  • 6,800+ photos from a camera phone (at 1.5 MB per photo)
  • 1024 photos from a DSLR camera (at 10 MB per photo)
  • 1500+ MP3s (at 6.5 MB per song)
  • 8 full-length standard definition movies (at 1.2 GB per movie)


Is My Backup Starting Over?
If it looks like CrashPlan is restarting your backup, or you receive a backup status report with a lower Back Up % than previously reported, it's most likely because the file verification scan is running. Your backup is okay! See the Troubleshooting Tips at the end of this guide for more information.

Priortizing files and destinations

Even under ideal conditions, the initial upload process can take a while. Backup times may range anywhere from a few days to a month or more, depending on your upload speed and the total size of the files you have selected to back up. In the meantime, CrashPlan does its best to make sure your most critical work is getting backed up immediately, and that you have a complete backup archive at one destination as soon as possible.

CrashPlan backs up your newest and most recently changed files first. This ensures that the most recent versions of your files - what you're working on right now - are backed up as soon as possible. The priority order looks like this:
  1. Newer, smaller files
  2. Newer, larger files
  3. Older, smaller files
  4. Older, larger files

Furthermore, CrashPlan prioritizes backup activity to ensure all your selected files are completely backed up at one destination before starting backup to another. To accomplish this, CrashPlan determines which destinations will back up the fastest in this order:

  1. Local folders (e.g., an external hard drive)
  2. Computers on the same network (LAN)
  3. CrashPlan Central or computers across the Internet (WAN)

How backup works

So just what exactly is CrashPlan doing anyway? CrashPlan doesn't merely upload or copy your files to your destinations. Rather, CrashPlan is designed to intelligently scan your files, minimize the bandwidth and storage needed to back up your files, and securely encrypt your files before they even leave your computer.

  • Analyze: CrashPlan uses a process known as de-duplication to scan your file selection and identify the unique information that needs backing up. This process saves on bandwidth and storage, and it also makes restoring faster.
  • Compress: When CrashPlan finds information that needs backing up, it compresses the data to save on bandwidth and storage space.
  • Encrypt: After compression, your files are encrypted with a 448-bit Blowfish key (CrashPlan for Home with subscription) or 128-bit Blowfish key (CrashPlan for Home without a subscription).
  • Send: Once your files are encrypted, your backup transmission is sent to your destinations using 128-bit AES in-transit encryption.

What's next?

Now that you've started your backup, it's just a matter of time before you experience the peace of mind that comes from backing up your files. Click Next below to learn learn about monitoring your backup status.