Specify version settings

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The CrashPlan app keeps multiple versions of each file as the file changes are backed up over time. Version snapshots can be downloaded from an archive to revert to a file's previous state. This tutorial explains how to change your version retention settings.


This article describes how to configure the version retention feature if your administrator has not defined these settings. However, your administrator may configure and lock the version retention settings.

If the version retention settings are locked, they are disabled in the CrashPlan console. See your administrator to configure these settings.

How it works

CrashPlan is designed to keep more of the recent versions of your backed up files and fewer of the older versions.

Specifying the versions to retain involves:

  • Specifying versions to retain for each interval
  • Pruning unnecessary files from the backup archive (optional)
  • Specifying when to compact the backup archive

Backup frequency

The CrashPlan app backs up new changes to files as often as your backup frequency settings allow. The CrashPlan app watches the file system in real-time. When a file changes, the next backup is based on your frequency settings. For example, if the backup frequency is set to 15 minutes, then the changes will back up at the next 15 minute interval.

The CrashPlan app retains the newest version in several intervals:

  • The last week
  • The last 90 days
  • The last year
  • Previous years

Version retention

CrashPlan selectively prunes out older file versions during the regular archive-maintenance process. This decreases the amount of data tracked as the archive grows, and it decreases memory usage in the CrashPlan app. For example, two months from now, you might not need to download a file from 8:45 a.m. when an hourly snapshot would work.

Avoid increasing the frequency or versions settings beyond the default settings. Increasing these settings requires the CrashPlan app to use more system resources to maintain your backup. Even if you have a small file selection, increasing the version retention can cause a delay in backing up your files due to file monitoring.

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.

Deleted file retention

If you delete a file from your device that was previously backed up, it remains in the archive for as long as indicated in the deleted files retention setting. Learn more about retaining and restoring deleted files.


The following example displays the default configuration of the version retention settings:


In this example, the CrashPlan app retains:

  • One version every 15 minutes for each day in the last week (since Back up changes every is also set to 15 minutes, this means every backed up version is retained for a week)
  • One version every day for dates between one week and 90 days ago
  • One version every week for dates between 90 days and one year ago
  • One version every month for dates over a year ago
  • Deleted files are removed from the archive every 90 days.

Specify versions to retain

  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.
    Note: Your administrator may prevent editing the frequency and versions settings. 
  5. Use the sliders to adjust backup frequency and version retention settings.
  6. Click Save.

Remove unwanted versions immediately

  1. Sign in to the CrashPlan app.
  2. Navigate to device preferences. 
  3. Select settings icon.png Settings.
  4. Click Destinations.
  5. Choose Run Maintenance.
    The CrashPlan app sends a request to that destination to immediately remove unwanted versions from the backup archive.
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