Is my backup starting over?

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If it looks like the CrashPlan app is restarting your backup unexpectedly, it may actually be running a file verification scan. The scan is an important and normal part of the CrashPlan app's scheduled activities, but it can also be triggered by several events. This article describes:

  • Events that trigger the scan
  • How to verify whether or not files are backing up for the first time (restarting your backup)
  • Where to find solutions for issues with the file verification scan

File verification scan

The file verification scan inspects your file selection for any new, changed, or deleted files that real-time file watching may have missed. Think of it as a second line of defense for detecting changes to your backup file selection.

By default, the scan is set to automatically run every day, but this schedule can be changed by updating the Preferred time for verification scan setting in device backup settings. The CrashPlan app periodically runs additional verification scans to detect data corruption, purge files that are no longer selected for backup, and prune file versions and deleted files according to your frequency and version settings.

In addition, there are times when a file verification scan is automatically triggered:

  • Changing the file selection: If you update your backup file selection, either to add or remove files, the scan runs to look for new, changed, or deleted files.
  • Replacing your device: After replacing a device (for example, if you recently changed devices), the scan runs to compare the files on your device to the files in your existing backup archive.
  • Clearing your cache: The cache includes information about your destinations and the data on your device. When the cache is cleared, a file verification scan initiates to help rebuild this information.
  • Attaching an external drive: When you attach an external drive, the scan runs to compare the files on the drive to the files in your existing backup archive.
  • At device reconnection: If the device is powered off or asleep at the scheduled scan time, the scan runs 15 minutes after the device reconnects.
  • Manually: The file verification scan can be triggered at any time from the Backup Set Settings Menu.

 Backup status email reports drop in the size of your archive

If the file verification scan is in process when a backup status report is sent, the backup status report may reflect the percentage of your file selection that has been verified instead of the amount backed up. You can verify the actual size of your backup archive using Option 1 below.


There are several items you can check to verify that your backup archive is intact and that the CrashPlan app is not starting your backup over.

Option 1: Verify the size of your archive

Verify that the amount of data being stored is a number that is consistent with your file selection size and previous backup completion.

  1. Open the CrashPlan app.
  2. Select settings_icon.png Settings.
  3. Click Destinations.
  4. From the list of destinations, select the one containing the archive you are verifying.
  5. Verify that the Space used is an amount of data reasonable for your file selection size and previous backup completion.

Option 2: Review history for scan

To confirm that the verification scan is running, you can check the History in the CrashPlan app.

  1. Go to History.
    • Windows: Tools > History
    • Mac: Windows > History
    • Linux: Tools > History
  2. Determine if a file verification scan is running. The messages below are typical of a scan running:
06/14/13 03:00AM [Default] Scanning for files to back up
06/14/13 03:00AM [Default] Stopped backup to CrashPlan Central in 4.5 hours
06/14/13 03:00AM  - Reason for stopping backup: Full filesystem scan started.
06/14/13 03:06AM [Default] Scanning for files completed in 6 minutes: 110,368 files (157.40GB) found

Option 3: Review effective speed of your backup

Another indication that the CrashPlan app is running the file verification scan - not backing up files - is an effective rate that is significantly higher than the sent rate.

  1. Navigate to History.
    • Windows: Tools > History
    • Mac: Windows > History
    • Linux: Tools > History
  2. Compare the effective rate and the sent rate. Look for a line like this (sent and effective rates are shown in bold for this example):
I 02/09/14 12:45PM [Default] Stopped backup to CrashPlan PRO Online in 15 minutes: 439 files (558.10MB) backed up, 24.50MB encrypted and sent @ 86.2Kbps (Effective rate: 6.1Mbps)

In this case, the effective rate is 6.1 Mbps while the sent rate is only 86.2 Kbps. You may notice discrepancies that are even larger than this.

When the file verification scan is running, the effective rate is much higher than the sent rate because it takes into account the de-duplication of the data that's already been sent. When the CrashPlan app comes to a file in the to-do list that's already backed up, it adds the size of the file to the amount of data its completed during that backup. It does this even though it didn't actually send anything.

Option 4: Review your logs

Using the backup_files.log file, you can definitively identify whether or not a file is backing up for the first time. The first two numbers summarize the CrashPlan app's analysis of the file:

  • First number identifies new data blocks that need to be backed up
  • Second number identifies old data blocks that have already backed up

If the first number is greater than zero, and the second number is zero, then it's a new file that's backing up for the first time. For example:


If the first number in the bracketed sequence is zero, and the second number is greater than zero, then it's an existing file that has already backed up. There is nothing new to back up. For example:


If both the first and second numbers are greater than zero, then it's an existing file that has already backed up but there is a new version that needs backing up. For example:


Recommended solution

Scan working as expected

If you determine that the file verification scan is running, and that it is only detecting a minor amount of changes that the real-time file watcher may have missed, give the scan time to complete. You can still download files while the scan is running, if necessary. If the CrashPlan app is synchronizing, you can't download from the app, but you can perform a web restore.

I think it's working as expected, but why does it say it will take so long?

The most likely explanation relates to how the CrashPlan app prioritizes files for backup. The CrashPlan app backs up your most recent changes first. When the scan finds new files for backup, these files go straight to the top of the “to-do” list. This impacts the estimated time to complete backup because the estimate is based on the type of files the scan is reviewing, new or existing) and your current network speed.

As these new or newly modified files complete backup, the CrashPlan app moves on to your already-backed-up files. At that point, the effective transfer rate rises dramatically because the CrashPlan app sends significantly less data to your backup destinations for previously-backed up files. This is data de-duplication in action. For more information, see our article on How CrashPlan backup works.

Scan not working as expected

  • File verification is running: If the scan detected a unexpectedly large amount of changes that need to be backed up, it could indicate there is a problem with your file verification scan schedule that is preventing changes from being detected on a regular basis.
  • File verification scan is not running: If the CrashPlan app is backing up files that were previously backed up and treating them like new files, contact your administrator.
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