CrashPlan for Backup

Backup of genealogy data is essential to avoid loss of your work.  I have written before about backup, but have recently started using the CrashPlan service. This post is to let you know about this new service.

CrashPlan Logo

Why Backup

So far I have had to use backups to get my research back twice. My computer disk needed to be reformatted to recover from a virus the first time, and the second time my genealogy files got corrupted.  Recovery is easy from backup files if you have them.

I have been backing my genealogy research up to a local network hard drive and to Carbonite, an online service that stores your files in the US.  However I was not happy with Carbonite because backup is very slow once you exceed 200 GB.  I need to backup over 700 GB because I have a lot of digital images from photography.


CrashPlan is an automatic backup service. Files and folders of your choosing are backed up when the CrashPlan software detects a change in files. You can choose when backups occur if you want to limit the time. The selective, incremental, and fully automatic backup system keeps the latest version of everything you want backed up without you ever having to think about it.

You can backup to a hard drive attached to your computer, to another computer on your network, to a friends computer using the internet, or to CrashPlan’s servers.  CrashPlan has servers in Australia for customers in New Zealand and Australia – CrashPlan Australia.

I took the CrashPlan+ Unlimited plan.  This allowed me to backup all my files (700 GB) on their Australian server plus to a local hard drive.  I also have an additional backup of my genealogy data to their server plus my wife’s computer when it gets turned on.

I used their “seed service” where they sent a hard drive, I backed up my files to the drive, and returned the drive to Sydney.  The files were then loaded onto CrashPlan Australia.  It would have otherwise taken several month to upload all my files as my current internet plan only allows 50 GB per month.  The “seed service” is expensive – $A165.

CrashPlan has several plans available.  A 10 GB plan for one computer costs $A35 per year.  With this plan you can backup (unlimited) to hard drives and friends computers for free, you are just limited to 10 GB on the CrashPlan servers. An Unlimited Family plan allows backup of unlimited amounts of personal files from 2-10 computers for $A165 per year. A free plan does not allow backup to CrashPlan servers and has several limitations.

CrashPlan keeps old versions of files so you can retrieve them if you want to.  I have retrieved files after I made changes then wanted to go back to an old version. If you have files on the CrashPlan servers you can download to your apple or android device using an app.

I tried to backup to my network attached storage but this did not work.  Access to network storage is not supported by CrashPlan although they provide an unsupported workaround. I used the workaround, but only managed to get half my backup done.  You may have success with a smaller backup?


2 thoughts on “CrashPlan for Backup

  1. Hi Chris,

    What’s your experience been so far with CrashPlan? I guess you’ve been using it for 2 months now.

    I’m attracted to it because it has an Aussie data centre.


    1. CrashPlan has worked fine. My only problem has been that sometimes the service turns off and I get an email warning. It is easily fixed in Windows, by searching for Services (program), starting, and looking for the CrashPlan service, and restarting. Works fine again then. I do not know why the revive stops occasionally.

      The “seed” service worked fine for me and saved the alternative of several months backup over the Internet.

      After deleting odd files by mistake, I have restored from the backup, and been able to select the right backup version to restore.

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