CrashPlan app glossary

This article applies to all products.png


List of user-related terms and definitions.


Account password

Password used to access the CrashPlan app and the administration console.

Actual transfer rate

The basic, measured rate of the data moving between the CrashPlan app and your backup destinations, usually given in megabits per second (Mbps) or kilobits per second (Kbps). This is the rate at which the compressed and encrypted data is actually transmitted. This rate does not take into account compression, and will generally be lower than the effective transfer rate or backup speed.

Administration console

The web-based application where you can edit settings or download backed up files from a web browser.


See replace device.

Application files

These files contain application settings and data specific to the applications on your device. Your applications—like your email, word processor, and web browser—need these files in order to operate. Typically, you don't interact with these files directly. They can also change frequently, particularly when the application is in use. See also system files.


Directory that contains the files that you have backed up to a destination. A backup archive contains the backed up data for a single device.

Archive key password

Password supplied when the archive key password option is enabled for archive encryption. If you have enabled this option, you must supply the archive key password to access files. See also account passwordsecured key.

Archive maintenance

A regularly scheduled task that checks a backup archive for any corrupted files and self-heals those files, as well as removes excess file versions, deleted files, and files no longer selected for backup. Archive maintenance can be triggered manually from the Run Maintenance button in the CrashPlan app. Administrators can also initiate archive maintenance from the administration console.

Back up

The operation in which files are sent to and stored on a backup destination; the action of backing up. For example, you may back up files to a cloud destination as well as a local drive.


Files that you have saved to another location as a safeguard against loss. Also known as a backup archive. For example, "My backup is stored in the cloud."

Backup file selection

All of the folders and files selected for backup. Your administrator can select, and may prevent you from editing your backup file selection. You can see the files selected for backup from Details > Manage Files in the CrashPlan app.

Backup frequency

The setting that determines how often the CrashPlan app backs up to your destinations.

Backup set

A group of files that you want backed up to a specific location or with specific settings.

Backup speed

The rate at which the data selected for backup on a device is actually backed up by the CrashPlan app. This can be defined as the amount of data selected, divided by the total time taken to complete the backup. The CrashPlan app provides an estimate of the time remaining to complete a backup, but keep in mind that this is only an estimate. Backup speed may also be referred to as "effective backup speed."

Backup status report

A summary report of your backup activity that, if enabled, is emailed to you based on your backup report settings. The report includes details on your backup file selection, the percent of your backup that is complete, and the last time backup activity was detected for each of your devices.


A measurement of the theoretical capacity of a network. The actual achieved throughput available to applications will rarely match the theoretical maximum rate claimed by your ISP, due to the overhead required by the transmission protocols, bandwidth shared with other applications, other users on the network, etc.

Block (of data)

A block is a sequence of data of variable length. Blocked data is passed through a data buffer and de-duplicated against the destination. If the data is new or changed, it is written to the disk a whole block at a time. Processing data in blocks reduces the memory and bandwidth required to transmit your files and speeds up your backup.


Hierarchical list of file paths shown at the top of the Manage Files and Get Files views of the CrashPlan app. You can click a folder name in the list to navigate to that folder's contents.

Cold storage

Temporary holding state for backup archives after they are deactivated, but before they expire and are permanently deleted. This is similar to the period when a deleted file remains in the Recycle Bin or the Trash.


The final step during the archive maintenance process. Compact reclaims disk space by removing from the backup archive data controlled by device settings: files no longer selected for backup, file versions beyond what the device's versioning settings allow, or deleted files older than allowed.


The process of transforming information into smaller pieces and fewer bits. The CrashPlan app compresses files from the source device, before transmitting the backup data, so that backup consumes less space at the destination and speeds up transmission.

CrashPlan app

The part of CrashPlan that you install on your laptop or desktop device, used to view and manage your backups.

CrashPlan service

The CrashPlan service that performs all backup operations in the background on a device running the CrashPlan app.

Custom key

Encryption key that is user-created (using the Passphrase or Generate options) and is used instead of the encryption key generated by the CrashPlan app. This encryption security option offers the greatest security because the custom key never leaves the source device. It also greatly increases user responsibility; there is no way to recover a backup if the custom key is lost or forgotten. Technical support engineers have no way to assist with custom key recovery.

Data de-duplication

Duplicate files and parts of files are identified by the CrashPlan app, and then sent and stored only once instead of multiple times. Data de-duplication happens on each individual device.


Applies to devices, users, orgs, and plans. Deactivation stops backup and causes associated archives to be placed into cold storage, and is therefore destructive: after the cold storage period, the affected archives are permanently deleted. Seat licenses are freed by deactivation.


General term applied to locations where your files back up. Destinations may be the CrashPlan cloud, your company's data center, or an external hard drive. Your administrator configures the destinations available to you devices.


The process of retrieving lost files. Based on your retention settings, you may also download previous versions of a file or deleted files.

Download Activity

Queue of active, pending, and complete downloads in the CrashPlan app. In Download Activity, you can pause and cancel downloads, as well as view downloaded files on your file system.

Effective transfer rate

The effective transfer rate is often greater than the actual transfer rate of the data across the network, because of compression. An example will help to clarify this idea:

Susan has 10 GB of data on her system to be backed up. After the CrashPlan app compresses and encrypts the data, it takes up only 8 GB of space. Her CrashPlan app transfers that 8 GB at the normal rate, but the effective rate is calculated as if it were sending the 10 GB rather than the 8 GB. The effective transfer rate often exceeds the actual transfer rate.


The process of encoding data so no unauthorized persons can read the data.

Encryption key

A piece of information that a cryptographic algorithm uses to encrypt data.

Enhanced security

Archive encryption that has been upgraded from the standard security option. There are two enhanced security options: Archive key password and custom key.

External address

The device's public IP address as seen by the CrashPlan app.

File verification scan

A scan that 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.

Gigabyte (gb)

A gigabyte equals 109 or 1,000,000,000 bytes.


(1) Globally Unique Identifier. A number assigned to each device to associate the device with its backup archive.
(2) A CrashPlan app command line command for viewing and manipulating the GUID value for the current device.

Initial backup

The very first backup performed on a specific source device. Because this backup establishes a baseline for your backup selection, the initial backup can take significantly longer than subsequent backups, which back up only the changes you've made since the last backup. See incremental backup.

Incremental backup

The process of backing up only files that are new or have changed since the previous backup.

Internal address

The IP address the operating system reports to the CrashPlan app and CrashPlan service for a particular device.

Local folder

A type of backup destination that is directly attached to the source device, for example, a directory on the file system or an external drive.


A location that is outside the facility that contains the devices being backed up.


A type of backup in which files are transmitted over the Internet or WAN. In the CrashPlan app, all server-based or cloud destinations are considered online destinations.


A backup location that is in the same facility as the source devices.

Pruning (archive)

As part of the backup process, CrashPlan regularly performs archive maintenance and removes (“prunes”) file versions according to your file retention settings.


The process of backing up files immediately after the files have been created or changed. Real-time backup protects you from loss that might occur if backups are scheduled only at specific times.

Recovery question

A recovery question is an optional feature of the archive key password security option. If your account has a recovery question and answer configured, you are able to reset the archive key password if it is lost or forgotten. When you enable the recovery question, the security of your archive key depends on both how hard it is to guess your answer and the strength of your archive key password. You can enable the recovery question feature at any time provided you know your current archive key password.

Replace device

Term that describes the process of one device taking over for another device that has been lost, stolen, sold, or reformatted. The replace device process is an optional operation available when the CrashPlan app detects a new device under an existing account. Replacing a device allows the new device to use an existing device's backup archive, backup file selection, and backup settings. It also deactivates the other device so it can no longer back up.


See download.

Secured key

A version of a user's archive encryption key that is encrypted with the user's account password (default security) or archive key password (enhanced security).


Locations from which you send files to be backed up or stored. The sending device or folder (drive) is a source.


A process where the source device and backup destination compare what files are actually stored on the destination vs. what files the source has sent to the destination.

System files

These are files that your device needs in order to operate. System files are part of your operating system, third-party device drivers, and other programs. Typically, you don't interact with these files directly and they may change frequently, particularly when the system is in use. See also application files.


The actual useable rate of data flowing on a network. This will never reach the bandwidth advertised by your ISP, due to various factors: network congestion, degraded cables or equipment, application or OS performance issues, network settings, networking protocol overhead, etc.


VSS stands for the Volume Shadow Service and it's what the CrashPlan app uses to back up open files on Windows. Both the CrashPlan app and the program with the open file must have VSS support in order to back up the file while it's open.

Version history

The CrashPlan app backs up and stores previous versions of your files according to your Backup Frequency and Versioning Settings. The collection of previous versions for a file is known as its version history.

Version retention

Settings for removing old versions of files from your backup archive. Removing these older versions can greatly help control the size of your backup archive. By default, CrashPlan keeps more of your recent versions and fewer of the older ones.

Web restore

The ability to download files from the administration console via a web browser. Web restore is a secondary method of downloading files.

Was this article helpful?
0 out of 0 found this helpful

Articles in this section