The CrashPlan app isn't designed to back up installed application files, so you should not include these files in your backup file selection. However, you can use the CrashPlan app to back up and restore your application installers. This article explains best practices for backing up your application installers so you can restore your applications to a new or reformatted computer.
Backing up and restoring installed application files with the CrashPlan app is not recommended or supported. Our Customer Champions cannot assist you with recovering installed applications, so you assume all risk of unintended behavior. However, we do support backing up and restoring application installer files, which can be used to recover your applications.
Key concept: Applications files versus installers
You may be tempted to include your entire hard drive as your backup set, including application files and system files. However, your computer frequently creates and modifies these files as part of its normal operation.
Since the CrashPlan app backs up the smaller, recently changed files first, these application and system files are often backed up before other important files in your backup selection. Due to the changes in application files, even if you restored the application file at a later time, we cannot ensure that the application would function properly.
When you purchase or download an application, the installer file is what you use to install the application on your computer. Installer files are valuable when you need to replace a computer, reformat a drive, or recover from a crash. If you don't have the installer file, you must spend time finding it, determining the correct version to download, then downloading and installing it.
Unlike application files, installer files do not change. Therefore, the CrashPlan app only needs to back up the file one time. Once it is backed up, the installer file will be available when you need it to reinstall the application, even if your computer is lost, damaged, or the file is accidentally deleted.
What to exclude from your backup file selection
The CrashPlan app isn't designed to restore your operating system or applications, so there is no advantage to backing up these types of files. You can remove operating system and applications from your backup file selection to help optimize your backup speed.
Don't back up folders that contain:
- Application and program files: These are files that your applications need in order to run. These files change so frequently that the CrashPlan app spends more time backing them up when they're included in your backup file selection.
- System files: These are files that your computer needs to run properly. These also change frequently and are best recovered using the operating system installation media.
Signs the CrashPlan app is backing up system or application files include:
- Time to complete backup selection increases, sometimes by many days.
- Backup never reaches 100%.
- Backup status may be incorrectly reported due to frequent file changes.
- Restore Files may display “No files found” or never finish loading files.
What to include in your backup file selection
For more information on what you should include in your backup, see What should you back up with CrashPlan?.
Back up software license and serial numbers in a .txt file
If you have purchased a license for any of your software or have serial numbers for an application, you can keep a copy of those keys. Create a .txt file with license keys or serial numbers within the installer's folder and include it in your backup.