Download files after replacing a drive

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This tutorial explains how to download files after replacing a hard drive that had backed up files. This applies to replacing any storage drive, such as an external drive, hard drive, or solid state drive (SSD).

 Replacing your entire system?

If you are replacing your entire system or a drive containing your operating system, refer to the instructions for downloading all files on a new drive instead. The article below applies to replacing a drive used for storage only.

Before you begin

When initially connected, the CrashPlan app scans the new drive for your backed up files and doesn't find them. As a result, the CrashPlan app assumes they have been deleted and marks the files as missing. You can download missing files as described in Step 2 below; however, the files are subject to your deleted files retention setting.

In the CrashPlan console, verify that your remove deleted files setting is set to the maximum for your product (30 days for CrashPlan Essential, 90 days for CrashPlan Professional) to ensure that none of the "missing" files are removed from your backup archive before they can be downloaded.


Replace your drive using the same letter (Windows) or name (Mac) as the original. This way, the CrashPlan app sees the new drive as a continuation of your existing backup and the version history of your files remains consistent.

Step 1: Update your new drive with the old drive’s name or letter

  1. Connect or install the new drive.
  2. Rename the drive to match the name of your previous drive, if necessary.
    If you don't remember the original drive name or letter, check the file path at Home > Manage Files. The original drive name or letter will be marked "File is missing" and the corresponding missing file icon Missing-5_0-1.png displays.
  3. (Windows) If your device automatically assigned the drive a different letter than your previous drive, then update the letter to match the previous drive.

Step 2: Download your files from a date prior to replacing the drive

Download a "snapshot" of your file selections from a time before the CrashPlan app identified them as deleted.

  1. Open the CrashPlan app.
  2. Click Restore Files.
    • (Applies only if you have multiple devices) From the menu, select the device that originally backed up the files you want to restore.
  3. If you back up to multiple destinations, select the destination from Restore files from.
    The backup set list appears after Restore files from if you have multiple backup sets that use the same destination. Select the backup set that contains the files you want.

  4. Click As Of Today.
    The date and time selection window opens.
  5. Select a date and time prior to replacing the drive.
  6. Select your device’s name to navigate to your device’s root folder.
    Click the breadcrumb overflow menu Breadcrumb_Overflow_menu.png if your device's name is not visible.
  7. Select the files to download.
  8. Click Restore Files.
  9. From Save selected files to, select Original Location.
  10. (Optional) Choose to Rename or Overwrite existing files.
  11. Click Go.

Alternative process

Replace your drive using the same letter (Windows) and name (Mac) as the original drive, as described above. If you choose to replace the new drive using a different letter or name than the previous drive, then:

  1. Your old drive's files are marked as deleted. Download your files using the include deleted files option, or download from a date prior to replacing the drive.
  2. Update your backup file selection to include the new drive.

 Don't deselect your old drive from your backup selection

If you deselect your old drive before completing backup on your new drive, the archive-maintenance process deletes the files from the backup archive the next time it runs, and the files cannot be retrieved

  1. Allow a complete backup of the downloaded files on your new drive. The CrashPlan app de-duplicates any files that have already been backed up to the destination.
  2. If you want to preserve file versions backed up before the drive was replaced, you must continue to include the old drive in your file selection, even after the new drive is backed up.
    See below for more information on retaining your file version history.

File version history

Including the replaced drive in your file selection preserves the version history of your files, allowing you to download an older version of a file. When a drive is replaced with a different drive name or letter, your file history is split between the two drives. If you deselect the drive from your file selection, the version history of your files on your old drive will be lost.

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