Understand and troubleshoot frequency and version settings


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The CrashPlan app tracks multiple versions of each file as it backs up changes over time. From a backup, you can restore a file's previous state. However, retaining too many versions can cause problems with your backup. This tutorial includes considerations for changing your version retention settings.

Frequency and version settings are available in the CrashPlan console

View your frequency and version settings

  1. Sign in to the CrashPlan console.
  2. Navigate to Administration > Devices and click the name of the desired device.
  3. On the device details page, click the settings gear settings-gear-console.png and select Edit.
  4. Click on the Backup tab and scroll down to Frequency and versions.


Find file versions

To view all versions of a file: 

  1. In the CrashPlan app, go to your backed up files: 
    • 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.
  2. Hover over a file. App-hover-export-crop.png
  3. Click on the versions icon version icon.png
  4. All versions of that file appear. 


The CrashPlan app only backs up a new version of a file if it has changed since the last backup. Here’s an example:

Assume you back up continuously and use the default version setting for documents updated in the last week (every 15 minutes). You have been actively making changes to the file “Q3 Budgeting 2017" for the last hour. You can expect up to 4 versions of “Q3 Budgeting 2017” during that hour period (one for each 15-minute backup interval). 

In certain circumstances, there might be fewer versions than you expect if the CrashPlan app is trying to back up certain files but can't access them. The most common causes are:

Missing files
If you cannot find a specific file (not a version of the file), additional troubleshooting steps may help you locate the file.

What do frequency and versions settings do?

The CrashPlan app watches the file-system in real-time for new and changed files in your file selection and adds them to a to-do list.

  • Frequency: Determines how often files in that list are backed up 
  • Versioning: Defines how the CrashPlan app stores previously backed-up versions of your files

Over time, frequency and versions settings work together to slowly remove older file versions backed up by the CrashPlan app (for example, two months from now, you may not need to restore a file from 8:45 AM when the daily snapshot will do). As your backup grows, these settings decrease memory usage in the CrashPlan app and save storage space at the destination. Older file versions are removed during regular archive maintenance based on your version settings.

Changing frequency and versions settings
We do not recommend increasing these settings to back up more frequently than the default settings. However, if you have a large file selection, consider changing your settings to back up less frequently or increasing the memory allocated to the CrashPlan app.


The image above illustrates how the number of versions is reduced over time.

Based upon the current settings, the CrashPlan app retains versions as frequently as every 15 minutes. Once versions of a file are between one week and 90 days old, the number of versions retained is reduced to keep a version from every hour. The CrashPlan app continues to reduce versions over the next year.

Retain a single version of a file
You can tell the CrashPlan app to only retain a single version of older files. This may be useful if you have large files that change frequently, but for which older versions provide little value. For example:
  • a database
  • Photoshop project file
  • iMovie project file
  • ProTools project file
To only retain a single version of a file, set your retention settings to:
  • Last week: every week
  • Last 90 days: never
  • Previous years: never
Please note that your retention settings apply to every file backed up to particular destination. In other words, if you are backing up to a cloud destination, your version retention settings apply to every file backing up to the cloud destination regardless of the backup set to which a file belongs.

Why is the CrashPlan app consuming system resources?

The CrashPlan app monitors changes to files in real time, based on the backup frequency and versions settings selected. More frequent backups or large numbers of files require the CrashPlan app to use more system resources to process your backup. Even small file selections at higher-than-default frequency can cause the CrashPlan app to delay in backing up your files due to file monitoring.

A common reason for having a large number of files selected is that the entire hard drive is selected for backup. As part of its normal operation, your computer creates and modifies a large number of system and application files, which are small. Because the CrashPlan app prioritizes its to-do list based on file size and creation date, this data is backed up before other important personal files in your backup selection. Moreover, there is no advantage backing them up, as you don't typically directly interact with system files and application data.

Some symptoms you might see if the CrashPlan app backs up system or application files:

  • Time to complete backup selection increases, sometimes by many days
  • Increased system resource usage
  • Increased cache size
  • Backup never reaches 100%
  • Backup status is incorrectly reported
  • No files are displayed under Restore Files
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