How To Setup CrashPlan On Your Mac

CrashPlan is a backup application, made by Code42. I use it and recommend it to create off-site, cloud-based, backups. The CrashPlan application is free to download and use if you want to backup your Mac to an external hard drive. If you want to backup to Code42’s servers, which they call CrashPlan Central, one needs to sign-up for either an Individual, Family or Business subscription. Business subscriptions are called CrashPlan Pro.

An Individual subscription costs $60/year and provides unlimited storage of data from one computer.

A Family subscription costs $150/year and provides unlimited storage for 2-10 computers.

A Business subscription costs $10 per computer per month and provides unlimited storage.

With a paid subscription to CrashPlan, CrashPlan runs every 15 minutes and creates multiple backup copies of your files. Every time you edit a file a new backup copy is made.

Setup Instructions

Here are some brief instructions that’ll hopeful get your started, however, you might find CrashPlan’s detailed and illustrated installation and setup instructions helpful.

  1. Start by going to CrashPlan’s web store and purchase either an Individual, Family or Business subscription. (CrashPlan’s current Mac system requirements are OS X 10.7 or higher.)
  2. If you’ve subscribed to either the Individual or Family plan then visit this page to download the CrashPlan application. If you have a Business subscription then login to your Business account to download the CrashPlan Pro application.
  3. Once the CrashPlan installer finishes downloading to your Mac please double click the installer to start the installation process.
  4. Follow the on-screen prompts to install CrashPlan on your Mac.
  5. After the installer finishes, the CrashPlan application will automatically open.
  6. You’ll see a login screen asking you to setup a new account or use an existing account. If you have an Individual subscription or you have a Family subscription and this is the first Mac you’re setting up then click the option to create an account. If you have Business subscription or a Family subscription and you’ve already setup an account on another Mac then click the option to use an existing account.
  7. Once you’ve logged in using a new or existing account, locate “CrashPlan Central” under “Destinations” and then click the Start Backup button corresponding to CrashPlan Central. [Note: The Business version of CrashPlan uses the term CrashPlan Pro Online in place of CrashPlan Central”
  8. Wait 5-10 seconds. CrashPlan will start a backup and it’ll even display a message telling you that backups have started.
  9. Click on the “Backup” tab in the column at the left and look at the section labeled “Files”. By default it’s set to backup your Home folder. This folder is the default location for all of your music, pictures, documents, local email messages and files on your Desktop. This is typically what I recommend you back up. However, if you want to make changes to add or remove folders, click the Change button and select additional files, folders or hard drives.
Important Notes

You can then quit the CrashPlan application. CrashPlan will continue to perform a backup of your Mac as long as the laptop is on, awake and connected to the Internet.

The initial back up could take days or weeks to complete depending upon how much data you’ve selected and the speed of your Internet connection. Until this initial backup is complete you don’t have much protection, so I think CrashPlan is a nice supplemental backup to local backups performed by Time Machine.

By default, CrashPlan will send you email notices when it hasn’t been able to backup your Mac in 3 days and it’ll also send you a weekly summary of when the last backup occurred. You can change these email notification schedules in the Settings section.

As with any backup application, I recommend that you perform test file restorations regularly.  This will ensure that the backup system is working properly and that you are comfortable performing restorations so you can do it with confidence when disaster strikes. CrashPlan offers their own instructions for restoring files and I provide instructions in a previous Tech Tip.

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