Unable to back up files on Linux

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When the CrashPlan app is unable to back up a file, the History window 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 app on Linux


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

Determine what's not backing up (basic)

  1. Open Terminal.
  2. Enter: cd /usr/local/crashplan/log/
    This command accesses the logs directory.
  3. Enter: nano backup_files.log.0

The file opens in nano. This document lists every file that the CrashPlan app attempted to back up. Any log lines beginning with a "W" signify a file that the CrashPlan app wasn't able to back up at that time.

Determine what's not backing up (advanced)

  1. Open Terminal.
  2. Enter: grep "^W" /usr/local/crashplan/log/backup_files.log.0 | less
    For CrashPlan app version 7.0, enter: grep "^W" /usr/local/crashplan/log/backup_files.log | less 

This command lists any file that failed to back up with the CrashPlan app.

Recommended solutions

Once you identify 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

The CrashPlan app isn't designed to back up system and application files. Therefore, 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 file selection so that only personal files are backed up.

File permissions

The CrashPlan app requires read/write permission to access your files. If the CrashPlan app is installed per user (instead of for everyone on the computer), there may be files or directories that the CrashPlan app can’t access. To back up these files, you must grant the appropriate read and write permissions to the file.

Required character set

The CrashPlan app 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 Ubuntu distribution of Linux.

  1. Open Terminal.
  2. To install locales, enter: sudo apt-get install locales
  3. Restart the device.

 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.

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