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CrashPlan Support

Unable To Back Up Files (Linux)

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.


When CrashPlan is unable to back up a file, the History tab displays the message "unable to back up n files." On Linux, issues backing up a file most commonly occur when trying to back up system and application files, files the CrashPlan app does not have permission to access, or files with names using characters not included in the UTF-8 character set. This article addresses how to identify which files are not backing up and how to resolve the issue.


CrashPlan apps on Linux


You can use either of the methods below to identify which files are failing to back up.

Determining what's not backing up (basic)

  1. Open Terminal.
  2. Enter: cd /usr/local/crashplan/log/
    This command accesses the CrashPlan logs directory.
  3. Enter: nano backup_files.log.0
    The backup_files.log.0 file opens in Nano.

This document lists every single file that CrashPlan attempted to back up. Any log lines beginning with a "W" signify a file that CrashPlan wasn't able to back up at that time.

Determining what's not backing up (advanced)

  1. Open Terminal.
  2. Enter: grep "^W" /usr/local/crashplan/log/backup_files.log.0 | less

This command lists any file that failed to back up using CrashPlan.

Recommended solutions

Once you've identified the problem files, review the information below to determine if the files fit into one of these categories. Additional troubleshooting information is provided for each category.

System or application files

CrashPlan isn't designed to back up system and application files and we don't recommend adding these files to your backup selection. Doing so could cause issues with the priority and status of other files you want backed up. Modify your CrashPlan file selection so that only personal files are backed up.

File permissions

CrashPlan requires read/write permission to access your files. If the CrashPlan app is installed as a user, there may be files or directories that CrashPlan can’t access. To back up these files, you must grant the appropriate read and writer permissions to the file.

Required character set

CrashPlan requires the en_US.UTF-8 character set to understand some characters (such as umlauts and non-ASCII characters), which may not be installed on your system by default. To back up files containing these characters, install the en_US.UTF-8 locale. The example below illustrates installing locales on a Debian or Debian-derivative distribution of Linux.

  1. Open Terminal.
  2. Enter: sudo apt-get install locales
  3. Enter: sudo dpkg-reconfigure locales
  4. Restart the computer.
Loading Localizations
Localizations must load before the CrashPlan app opens. If none of the above recommended solutions starts your backup, confirm that the localizations load before the CrashPlan service launches.