Take Control of CrashPlan Backups
Publisher: TidBITS Publishing, Inc.
Released: January 2014
Pages: 140

You know not to put all your eggs in one basket, but are you backing up to only a single location? Our favorite backup service, CrashPlan, backs up your data silently in the background, storing it locally on a hard disk or another computer you own, offsite on a friend's computer (for the consumer version), or in the cloud. But thanks to CrashPlan's power, flexibility, and cross-platform interface, you may need additional explanation to get the most out of CrashPlan's best features. This ebook - created in collaboration with CrashPlan maker Code 42 Software - has all the behind-the-scenes details and real-world advice you need.

In the ebook, backup expert Joe Kissell helps you devise an effective backup strategy for CrashPlan's unique capabilities, shows you how to back up to multiple destinations and restore files from all of them, explains less-common tasks (such as switching to a new computer and seeding a hard drive locally before moving it to a friend's house for offsite backup), and walks you through fine-tuning CrashPlan's many settings to meet your needs. All three consumer and small-business versions of CrashPlan - the free CrashPlan and the subscription-focused CrashPlan+ and CrashPlan PRO - are discussed, with relevant differences called out. (The book does not cover CrashPlan PROe, the enterprise version.)

For small businesses subscribing to the CrashPlan PRO service, Joe documents how to manage users and computers via the service's Web-based interface, and for anyone backing up to CrashPlan Central or CrashPlan PRO Cloud, he describes how to use the CrashPlan Mobile app (for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone 7) to access backed-up files. Lastly, Joe provides troubleshooting tips in case things go wrong, and offers advice for backup needs outside CrashPlan's purview (like bootable duplicates).

Questions answered in the book include:

  • Can I get by with just the free CrashPlan or do I need CrashPlan+?
  • How does CrashPlan protect my data in transit and at the destination?
  • Does CrashPlan maintain multiple versions of files? Can I control how many?
  • How does CrashPlan work to reduce bandwidth use and storage space?
  • Can I back up to a local hard disk, to a friend, and to CrashPlan Central?
  • How do I back up different sets of files to different destinations?
  • How can I speed up my first Internet-based backup?
  • How can I tell what CrashPlan is doing, and what do all its messages mean?
  • What's involved with restoring files, even older versions of files?
  • What do I do if I need to restore all my files over a slow Internet connection?
  • How can I avoid backup confusion when I switch to a new computer?
  • How do I seed a backup for offsite or CrashPlan Central use?
  • How can I pause or stop CrashPlan's background processing?
  • In what ways can I tweak CrashPlan's settings for optimal performance?
  • How can CrashPlan notify me if backups aren't working for some reason?
  • What can I do with my backed-up files via the free CrashPlan Mobile app?
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oreillyTake Control of CrashPlan Backups
 
4.0

(based on 1 review)

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(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

Good guide to the CrashPlan service

By Roy

from Cary, NC

Verified Reviewer

Comments about oreilly Take Control of CrashPlan Backups:

There isn't a simpler way to say it: Offsite backup is important. While I am still in the process of evaluating different providers, CrashPlan seems to offer a good mix of pricing and features. Fortunately, Joe Kissell's Take Control of CrashPlan Backups was recently on offer through the O'Reilly Blogger Review Program, so I picked it up to get a better understanding of the service's features and limitations.

Despite CrashPlan's attractive pricing, it's also known for having a less-than-elegant Java-based interface and backend. Thankfully, Kissell guides the reader carefully through navigating the app, including the how to set everything up initially (creating a backup set, including/excluding parts of your system, adjusting update schedules, and so on). Also appreciated was the straightforward yet technically-competent description of the different encryption options that CrashPlan provides, along with the pros and cons of each. Throughout the book, Kissell makes sure to point out any options or features that might impact the status of your backups (for example, upgrading to the strongest encryption will remove all previous backups).

Viewed in light of a backup service's long-term costs, Take Control of CrashPlan Backups is well worth getting as a companion guide. Being able to consult it when you're unsure about the consequences of checking a particular checkbox or flipping a certain switch in CrashPlan should go a long way towards avoiding mistakes that might accidentally delete file version histories or old backups. For people like me who are still on the fence about what backup service to choose, I wouldn't say it's necessary to read it beforehand, but it is useful to get an idea of how the service does (and doesn't) work, giving some insight (or at least some food for thought) in a way that a short trial period may not provide.

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