Crashplan Online Backup LOST MY ENTIRE BACKUP ARCHIVE

After almost an entire week of not being able to backup to Crashplan because of “archive maintenance” on their part, I was informed today that instead of merely maintaining my backup archive, Crashplan LOST THE ENTIRE THING. That’s right, Crashplan lost all of my data, unrecoverably. It’s gone – my entire online backup archive of all of my data – my life’s work – 2.4 tb of everything – completely gone. And Crashplan doesn’t seem to have any remorse.

I’ve been using online backup for a number of years. Before I switched to Crashplan, I was using Backblaze for online backup. Backblaze was great – a lightweight, easy to use front end, fast backup speed, low system resources, good support response times, and most importantly, a reliable service. However, the one thing Backblaze didn’t do at the time was offer unlimited, or very long retention. Backblaze would delete data from my archive if it didn’t see that data connected to my computer for a month – so if I went on vacation for 2 months and stored away my external hard drives, my data would be automatically expunged at the end of the first month. Because of this little quirk of their service, I decided to switch backup providers to Crashplan. Note that nowadays, I believe that Backblaze retains data for 3-6 months, which is much much better.

Anyway, I decided that having longer than 1 month retention times for my data was important, and switched to Crashplan. My initial impression of Crashplan was good – a flexible service with lots of configuration options. However, over the last few months of using it, and leading up to this giant Crashplan data loss disaster, have seen a darker side. Backup upload speed was nothing like I saw using Backblaze. I would usually only see 100kbps or so upload speed, even when I knew I had much more bandwidth. The backup service would load slowly, and would frequently re-scan my computer. The UI was finicky – if the wrong settings were changed, my entire backup archive would be expunged by the system – with no time to go back and undo anything. Sure they give big warnings of this, but a small grace period would be nice. And throughout all of these issues, Crashplan support sucked. I’d wait days to get a response, had multiple support agents dealing with my case on multiple threads – the whole thing was a mess.

So when I received the below email this afternoon, I was extremely disappointed and immediately concerned for the safety of my now un-backed-up data, but unfortunately I wasn’t very surprised – this is just the kind of disaster I’ve come to expect from Crashplan.

Below you’ll find a transcript of my current support history, starting from the time when I reported my “unable to backup” issue, and ending with my response to their meager attempt to remedy the situation.

I had a brief call with tech manager Brad W. this evening about the issue – he was a nice, knowledgable guy, and offered me a 2tb seed drive to re-seed my data. He also confirmed that I’m the only account that this data loss situation happened with, and that they’re interested in finding a suitable solution. I haven’t accepted a solution yet.

For now, the situation is unresolved, and my data is still gone. And since I’m still traveling at the moment, I don’t even know when I’ll be able to get home to re-seed all of my data to a drive, even if they do overnight one to me.

What should I do? Should I accept their 2tb seed drive resolution and move on? Should I jump ship and backup with somebody else?

Crashplan Support Thread

“What happened to my data?! “Unable to restore due to a backup archive I/O error”

Jad
Dec-09 01:58 pm

I’m very concerned.. I was looking into my crashplan settings to see
why my backup was taking so long, and noticed that although it says
I’m connected, it’s saying the backup destination is unavailable. Also
online I get a notice when trying to view my flies “Unable to restore
due to a backup archive I/O error”. What’s going on here? Is all my
data gone? Why am I not backing up? Do you need any diagnostic info
from my computer or anything? Help help – there have been way way too
many hiccups with my backup so far since I switched from backblaze to
crashplan. Once again thinking of switching back. I just don’t want to
be always worrying about my backup crashing all the time – that is not
good.

screenshots attached. thanks!

-Jeffrey
Screen Shot 2011-12-09 at 2.54.43 PM.png (quick view)
Screen Shot 2011-12-09 at 2.53.16 PM.png (quick view)

==

Dec-10 2011 02:05 pm
David W.
CrashPlan
Hello,

First, your data is still on our servers and safe. Your archive is in queue for maintenance. Unfortunately, there are a few large archives ahead of yours in the queue. Archive maintenance is necessary to ensure reliable data for restoration. This is also what caused the error that you saw when you went to the Web Restore portal.

As soon as archive maintenance has run on your archive, your backups will resume normally. Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait for the other archives in front of yours in the queue first.

Please let us know if you have further questions.

Sincerely,
~David

==

Dec-10 2011 03:16 pm
Jad
Hi David, thanks for your response!

It seems like my archive has been in the queue for quite some time, and as a result I’ve been unable to back up for a few days – how can this happen? One of the reasons I chose Crashplan was the promise of “Real-time continuous backup” – which I took to mean that my files would always be backed up, as my upload bandwidth permitted – so that when I added or changed files, they would be backed up ASAP. I’m a little disappointed that maintenance on your side would result in me being unable to backup for so long. Can anything be done restore my backup functionality I paid for? Also, I understand that planned system maintenance is probably expected – and bet that I actually agreed to it in the license agreement I accepted – although I can’t find any type of availability reference in this doc – https://support.crashplan.com/doku.php/eula – but I’m not a lawyer and am almost definitely not reading/understanding it correctly.

Anyway, let me know if anything can be done to get my backup restarted, or if it would be at all possible for me to get a drive to backup to while I wait for my online backup to be restored.. Could I do another seed drive and have it added to my existing backup archive (not replace it)?

Thanks

-Jeffrey

==

Dec-10 2011 03:48 pm
David W.
CrashPlan
Hello,

Unfortunately, another Seed Drive would replace your archive rather than be added to the current archive. Also, the only thing we can do while your computer is in the maintenance queue is to wait for it to complete. This is part of the reason that we highly recommend that you use CrashPlan to backup to more than one destination (i.e. another computer or an external harddrive).

Sincerely,
~David

==

Dec-10 2011 04:38 pm
Jad
This is rediculous. It’s been 4 days since I was able to back up, and now I’m receiving warning emails from your system – for a problem that I have no control over! I actually DO backup to other locations with Time Machine – however that has nothing to do with the fact that Crashplan+, which I pay for, has not allowed me to backup for 4 days! What is going on here? Why in the world would I pay for such shitty service? Since I switched from backblaze to crashplan, I’ve had nothing but problems.

Please fix this, immediately.

-Jeffrey

==

Dec-12 2011 02:35 pm
Chad V.
CrashPlan
Hi Jeffrey,

Thanks for calling–give me a call back when that scan finishes!

~Chad

1-877-680-7526

==

Dec-12 2011 02:46 pm
Chad V.
CrashPlan
Hello Jeff,

Could you please send me your CrashPlan log files so I can take a closer look at the behavior you’re seeing? Please do the following:

– Open CrashPlan
– Double click the CrashPlan logo in the upper right
– Type: getlogs [REDACTED]
– Press enter

CrashPlan will automatically zip up your log files and attach them to this ticket.

~Chad

==

Dec-12 2011 02:49 pm
Chad V.
CrashPlan
Hi Jeffrey,

Okay–got a response back *right* away! Apparently after the archive move we ran a maintenance job on it (which is normal) and yours says it’s still pending because there were a few folks ahead of you in line. I’ve ‘bumped’ you to the top of the line so your archive should run maintenance and finish tonight, hopefully. It should be ready to access later on tonight/tomorrow. I hope this helps.

~Chad

==

Dec-12 2011 02:58 pm
Jad
Ok, thanks very much for bumping me up to the front of the line – hopefully I’ll be able to backup soon.

Is suspending a paying customers backup for 4 days normal or acceptable? This seems like a bit long to go without backing up.. what do you think?

-Jeffrey

==

Dec-12 2011 03:18 pm
Eugene O.
CrashPlan Support
Hello Jeffrey,

Thank you for your patience as we looked into this issue. Unfortunately, I have some bad news regarding your maintenance job. Your backup archive had corrupted data, and the archive could not be properly repaired by archive maintenance in this situation. This is a very rare situation. We are still looking into the root cause, but unfortunately much of the archive was affected and very little was able to be rebuilt. I sincerely apologize for this situation and the inconvenience of this event.

We definitely want to get you backed up and secured again, and I can expedite shipment of a seed drive to you so that we can upload your data again. We will cover the cost of the seed drive and all shipment, and we can get this out to you today if that would work for you. Could you contact us back with the shipping address, or simply confirm that the shipping address we previous used is the one you wish to use again?

From our records, I have the shipping address as:
[redacted]

Please let us know if we should use this one, or if you’d prefer a different address. Again, please accept our apology for this issue. Please contact me if you have any questions.

Regards,
~Eugene

==

Dec-13 2011 03:17 pm
Jad
Eugene-

Thanks for the heads up on the issue. After not being able to backup for almost a week, and now being informed that my ENTIRE BACKUP IS LOST, I’m extremely unhappy. How in the world can this situation possibly occur? Crashplan advertises itself as a reliable, real time backup solution. I was sold on the promise that my data with Crashplan would always be protected, maintained, and available to me at all times through the app, website, and mobile. app. To tell me that my data not only became corrupted, but was also unrepairable and then completely lost is absolutely unacceptable, for any level of service. Crashplan was my primary backup, and I’m extremely scared now that my data is unprotected and GONE.

I understand how competitive the online backup industry has become recently, and that one of the main hallmarks of marketing and competition is the reliability and ease of use of your service. You advertise both “Files secured in data centers worldwide” and “Real-time continuous backup”, yet I have experience none of this. My backup has been stalled for almost a week, and now your data center has completely lost my data.

Up until I started having issues with Crashplan last week, I had actually been recommending you to various friends and family. In fact, I set up both my Mother and Sister with Crashplan. How do I explain to them that the service I had once recommended has completely lost my data?

Regarding your “solution” – it’s weak, and highlights the fact that you really don’t care about me or my data. You’re offering to send me ONE measly 1tb seed drive? Did you not look at my account and see that I have 2.5 tb of data selected? At very very very least, you could offer to seed all of my current data to your online data center. A 1TB seed drive service costs $124.99 – so are you saying that all of my data – my life’s work – is only worth $124.99 to you? That’s insane.

I understand that periodically data issues do occur, and I appreciate you owning up to the issue. I’d like to have my confidence in your service restored and continue out the rest of my 4+ year prepaid account. I’d like a swift and appropriate resolution to this issue. Please let me know what you can do for me. Also, look forward to my blog post about this, and associated information sent over to Consumerist, ETC.

Your un-backed-up almost former customer,
Jeffrey

==

Dec-13 2011 05:00 pm
Brad W.
CrashPlan
Hello Jeffrey,

Here’s a recap of our phone call.

Here is what we can do to get you backed up again as quickly as possible.

We can send you a 2TB hard drive so you can seed your data to that. The remainder of your backup archive will need to be uploaded via the internet. We can comp you for the time it takes for the last part of your backup archive to upload to our servers.

We have your email address so we can send out a drive overnight once you make your final decision as to what you want to do.

~Brad

Dec-13 2011 05:26 pm

**UPDATE 2011-12-14 13:03 EST**

Looks like this is actually not an isolated issue, despite what Crashplan told me point blank on the phone last night. Facebook user Diane Dusek just posted on the Crashplan Facebook wall that she is having a very very similar issue. Screenshot of the Facebook conversation:

** UPDATE 2011-12-14 17:30 EST**

It’s 5:30 – the end of the day. I’ve called Crashplan twice today to talk to somebody about resolving my issue and moving on. On the first call I was put on hold for a brief minute, and when the guy came back on the line I was told that somebody could call me back shortly. 30 minutes later and no call, I called back and was once again put on hold, then told that somebody would definitely call me back within 30 minutes. That was 45 minutes ago. I’m simply being brushed off by Crashplan. Do they thin that this issue will simply go away, like all of my data did? I couldn’t have imagined how they could make the situation of losing a customer’s data worse, but somehow they managed to.

** UPDATE 2011-12-14 19:09 EST **

I just received a personal call from Matthew Dornquast of Code 42 software, makers of Crashplan. He was extremely apologetic, and did a great job of being extremely nice and understanding, and explaining the entire situation to me in as much detail as he could. I took a few notes from the call, and with Matthew’s permission, am publishing them. In the end, Crashplan is sending me out a 3tb seed drive so I can get my entire archive back online, and they’re also issuing me an account credit for the previous seed drive service I had purchased. Also of note, Matthew mentioned that he had not in fact read my blog post on the subject, but did read through the support thread, and heard from the Crashplan social media person that there was an issue that needed his attention.

Notes from call with Code 42’s Matthew Dornquast

  • The problem with data being lost was due initially to a hardware failure in one of the data centers Crashplan uses
  • Crashplan manage 62 petabytes of data across its data centers,  which is a huge amount.
  • In this incident, a single server had a hardware issue, which normally wouldn’t take down the whole thing and cause any data loss.
  • However, there was also an element of human error in this case, which ultimately caused a loss of data for about 20 customers.
  • All 20 customers did not lose all of their data – only some did.
  • Only 20 users were affected, out of the millions of Crashplan customers
  • Human error was a blind spot for Crashplan’s system, and there was no process in place to prevent it.
  • As of now, there’s a new process to prevent this type of human error from happening again.
  • This year Crashplan is expecting 380% growth. As a growing company, they are obviously still having growing pains.
  • For the 20 people affected by this snafu, Crashplan is offering free seeding to get data back into cloud.
  • Crashplan is a backup company, not an archive company. Don’t put all eggs in one basket – multiple backups is the way to go so that if one backup fails, there is a second backup. [ed. Which I do – I use Apple’s Time Machine as my local backup]
  • In this issue, software in the Crashplan system software detected data issue, and started healing immediately.
  • System was able to repair a lot of the data, and of the 20 people affected, very few actually lost all of their data.
  • Crashplan normally only offers 1tb seeding drives. But in this special case I can be sent a 3tb drive for seeding my 2.4 tb of data. [Although Brad told me last night that it was technically impossible for them to import more than 2tb of data from a seed drive into their system, Matthew assured me that his team would figure out a way to make it happen on his request]
  • Looking forward, Crashplan is coming out with new mobile stuff – iPad, android, windows phone 7 apps
  • New features for travelers – don’t use mobile access points, don’t run on battery power.
  • Summary – screwup by software people, 20 people affected, not the end of the world, working hard to get affected customers backed up again, putting systems in place to prevent this from happening again.
  • Responsible message to remind people of: Crashplan isn’t an archive service, it’s a backup service. Important to remember that multiple backups are the way to go for better security.

**UPDATE 2011-12-15 13:20 EST**
Crashplan released an official statement on the issue that caused the loss of my data:

On Dec 13th a storage node in one of our Minneapolis data centers experienced a hardware failure. While typically a non-event, additional human error escalated this failure into backup archive corruption for 20 of our customers, affecting their backup in varying degrees.Since CrashPlan automatically detects and heals around archive corruption, the affected customers don’t need to do anything – their backup archives will automatically heal over the internet. (However, to accelerate this process, we have offered overnight free seeding services to those customers.)While CrashPlan manages over 60 petabytes of consumer data globally and this event was limited to 20 people, we nevertheless take this failure very seriously and sincerely apologize for this lapse.Further, our operations team has modified our processes to avoid this human error in the future.



**UPDATE 2012-01-07 22:43 MST**

I’ve redacted my actual ticket number from the command line noted above. It seems that a user was able to successfully add their own crashplan’s log files to my support thread by using this line.. not good at all.

**UPDATE 2012-01-07 10:33 EDT**

Reader and beauty photographer Ashley Karyl just commented below that she’s been having big issues with crashplan too. She’s also noticed some new behavior. According to network monitoring tool Little Snitch running on Ashley’s computer, Crashplan made a connection to Amazon Web Services S3 cloud storage service this morning. The behavior deviates from the standard Crashplan behavior of connecting directly to Crashplan’s servers for backup. Crashplan has obviously had its share of issues lately. There’s even a static message posted on its support site indicating that they’re getting more support issues than normal”

“We’re currently seeing unprecedented demand for technical support, due to our recent rapid growth. As a result, our support response times are significantly longer than we want them to be.
Realtime live phone support and chat is available for customers experiencing urgent issues (help restoring files, lost or stolen hardware).
We are working diligently to resolve the delayed response times and apologize for the inconvenience.”

So could this Amazon AWS connection attempt indicate that Crashplan is making an emergency switch over to S3 to fix their own server farm’s I/O issues? Maybe, maybe not. Also to be considered is the fact that Crashplan just updated its software, which existing customers computers will automatically download and update themselves with. Very frequently developers use S3 to distribute software downloads – so it’s very likely that Ashley’s S3 connection was simply to download the latest version of the Crashplan client. In fact, I think this is very likely the case.

However, it’s still worth noting that things have been a bit bumpy for Crashplan lately, as evidenced by the static support message, and increased number of comments posted here.

Below is Ashley’s email explanation, and screenshot of her Little Snitch connection log.

Hi Jeffrey,
I didn’t grab a screenshot of the message as it popped up in Little Snitch, however I did just find it in the rules and I’ve attached a screenshot of that instead. Immediately afterwards the upload started to work normally and has continued for the last few hours. It could be that Crashplan are simply using S3 for the download of updated software, which many developers do, however it would seem strange in a case like this given the network they have.At the moment it is uploading nicely but this is after a week of problems and I’m still looking at a month to upload the rest assuming there are no further delays. I’m still on the fence about signing up but some options are simply too expensive and it’s a pain for me to start again with this slow connection while I’m waiting for fibre to be enabled in this area.ThanksAshley
PS I’m a photographer as well and want my archives backed up offsite to ensure I am covered if there was a fire or theft at the house.

 

**UPDATE 2012-04-05 17:13 EDT**

In light of the torrent of recent comments, and in the interest of getting some sort of official response from Crashplan on this ongoing issue, I’ve just tweeted directly to Code42 Software’s CEO Matthew Dornquast. During my initial issues with Crashplan, which prompted me to write this blog post, I had a phone call with Matthew – he was generally very nice, knowledgeable, and pleasant to talk to, and helped speed me through the process of getting my backup re-seeded. Hopefully he’ll take heed of this post and let everybody know what’s going on here, and why users are continuing to experience issues.

My Original Tweet
Matthew Dornquast’s Public Twitter Stream


**Update 20120-09-26**

After having crashplan crash multiple times on my Macbook Air running 10.8.2, I wrote in to support to ask for advice. Their response? “you’re running out of memory and need to manually increase memory”. Really? I have to manually fix your app that keeps crashing? Terrible.

Here’s my initial problem:

Whats going on here? My computer has been on and connected to the internet just fine lately… Error message I received: “Computer “My Computer Name” has been unable to reach any backup destinations for 3 DAYS. Back up to multiple destinations to reduce your risk of losing data.”

I forwarded Kelly my Crashplan log files. Then her response after reviewing my log files:

Good day Jeffrey,I believe that you may not be backing up due to out of memory errors. Looking through your logs it appears that the CrashPlan backup engine is running out of memory. Please follow the instructions below to allocate more memory to the CrashPlan backup engine.Edit the CrashPlan engine’s com.crashplan.engine.plist (“the plist file”) file to allow it to use more java memory. You will need to use Terminal for this, and edit the file using the ‘sudo’ command. When prompted, type in your computer’s Admin password. Note that you will not see the text-cursor move when you do – this is normal.1. Stop the backup engine by typing this into the Terminal application:sudo launchctl unload /Library/LaunchDaemons/com.crashplan.engine.plist2. Run this command to edit the backup engine:sudo nano /Library/LaunchDaemons/com.crashplan.engine.plist3. In /Library/LaunchDaemons/com.crashplan.engine.plist, find this line: -Xmx512m4. Edit that line to something larger such as 640, 768, 896, or 1024. E.g.: -Xmx1024mThis sets the maximum amount of memory that CrashPlan can use. CrashPlan will not use that much until it needs it. I would recommend starting out setting it to 768, and go higher only if you continue experiencing problems. You can increase it above 1024 if you have a really large file-selection.5. Hold the Control key and tap the x key to exit. Choose “y” to confirm it.6. You’ll see the prompt “File Name to Write.” Hit enter to save to the existing location.7. Start the backup engine by typing:sudo launchctl load /Library/LaunchDaemons/com.crashplan.engine.plistIf you have any problems with this process, you can call us directly at 1-855-411-4242. We are available during the week 7-7 Central Time. Please let me know if you have any questions.Regards,
~Kelly

So, for an out of memory problem, they’re trying to instruct me on how to go in and manually fix it. For a consumer facing product, this seems much much much too complex to expect me to do on my own. Crashplan, fix your app.

And it seems like they are working on fixing it with a Native Mac Crashplan App!

I got a nice tidbit of information from support rep Kelly – Crashplan is working on a Mac Native Crashplan App. That’s right, native code, no java wrapper crappyness. Here’s Kelly’s words:

The reason that it is not native is because CrashPlan is a cross platform program. Currently we are working on a native Mac client, but this does not have a time frame on when it will be released.

– Kelly S., Crashplan Support

Hoping for that new native crashplan client to be released soon…

**Update 2014-09-06**

Still no native MacOS App… let me know if you hear any updates on this..

214 comments

  1. kelway74 says:

    I’m a new victim of Crashplan. Wow, thanks so much for the seed drive and a free 3 months of service….that’s worth a dinner for one out at Ruby Tuesday. The fact is, crashplan user data is not safe. In my case, some issue with a single RAID card means I lose all of my archive and the associated version history. As others have said, for that price how can they safely offer all of these features and reliability?

    Wakeup call to shoulder the full burden of backup locally… I do that, but the immediate ongoing backup is so convenient that it’s easy to rely on it for weeks at a time. No more-

  2. Tek says:

    I’ve sent some emails to privacy section of crashplan asking why when i choose to save my private encryption key it always transmits to their servers 15824 bytes of data (i sniffed several packets) all encripted so unless i reverse engineer the software i cant see whats actualy being transmitted, so far, no response today (sent 5 days ago).
    I sent the same question a year ago on the support page.. response was:
    “What the information states on our website is true, your key is never sent to our servers, but there must be some communication between the server and your computer to notify our systems that the setting has been enabled. That is why there is data sent between the systems, otherwise our server would still believe that you are using the standard method of encryption.”

    https://crashplan.zendesk.com/requests/64202 (requieres login to see now)

    Dunno, even after a year i still dont trust.. the price, the software, the hidden log levels:
    https://crashplan.zendesk.com/requests/64665

    seems fishy.. the fact that for example it cant backup ntsf encripted files without having them unencrypted first (logged in as the ntsf suer). I know that deduplication is not fool proof and needs to scan what type of files are being deduped to get good results, but.. the constant scanning of all files… damn.

    Im a bit short on time to get to the bottom of this, backups should be easy.. (deph breath)

    • Jimmy says:

      I wouldn’t trust anyone to not keep my encryption keys. Not even SpiderOak. For mildly sensitive data I use encfs, which can be backed up just fine using Crashplan. Even Truecrypt works if you are patient.

      BTW, it seems that your support tickets are only visible from your own account. My experience with Crashplan’s support has been nothing but horrible, so I’m interested to see what kind of response you can get.

  3. John Quinn says:

    Sun., 08/19/2012, 1:15pm EST. Signed up a week ago for CP+. In the middle of initial backup to CP Central. Woke up to find out that the connection is down. Went to their website, found that when you click on “My Account” the web page crashes. WTF?

  4. Marco says:

    Jumping in on this discussion to signs that I’m experiencing similar problems (and lack of decent support) as well. My existing CrashPlan Central archive got disconnected “for maintenance” last week, incremental backup stopped and the CP application started to backup from scratch to fresh destination.

    Since I leave in Europe, I have no possibility of using a disk to seed, thus a new backup over the network will just take forever (like it did the first time). I have the feeling that the existing archive just got lost or corrupted, given the amount of time it’s taking to reply to my ticket and/or taking it back online.

  5. Mike says:

    I will probably never sign up for their services again.

    1. They once had great phone support, now I can’t even get though to a live support person, or I have to wait days.

    2. Their software’s source-code is not open to the public, why should anyone trust their (security)?

    3. The team is suborn about implementing an on and off button to start the software manually. There should be an advanced option somewhere for the user to add an Icon to their desktop to run the program when THEY CHOOSE to do so. On some computers, data drives are not always mounted at system start up and will cause crashplan client to get confused. But since they think everyone is too stupid to remember to run backups, they dictate to every user rather than giving them options. The mentality is: we know whats best for you.

    4. Security of the data Key. The CP site talks about how very secure option # 3 is when generating a privet key that the user can maintain. Yet, the software client holds the key all the time rather than giving the user an option to have the software prompt for the key only when the service needs to be accessed. That is not secure because if someone steels your computer, they can probably crack the password to your software. With all that said, CP is not built with good security in mind.

    The solution to these issues is easy but the team is too arrogant to take suggestions from customers. It was always the company’s that refused to listen to what the customers wanted that never lasted.

  6. Jay Baker says:

    Over the last month or so I have had all backups completely or partially lost from one system that has 2 backup destinations, CrashPlan Central and another system on my home network. The data backed up to each are different.
    Support is abysmal from a results perspective though they seem nice. I get the impression there are major flaws and they are just overwhelmed.
    Is anyone suggesting alternatives to CrashPlan? I love the concept of CrashPlan. But if it doesn’t work, obviously that is of no use to me.

  7. Geoff says:

    I’m seriously looking at Pogoplug with the Amazon Glacier offsite option (https://www.engadget.com/2012/09/06/pogoplug-adds-amazon-glacier/). 5TB for $199/yr. More than Crashplan but with Glacier backup, I have a lot more confidence in Amazon for “reliable” (it’s all relative) storage than a lot of these other guys. Not sure how Pogo’s going to handle the slow restore times with Glacier (up to four hours to get files back), unless Amazon’s doing something special for them, which I doubt. But for my needs – safe, offsite backup, I really don’t care about slow recovery. Also not sure how we can get a bulk upload to them. Glacier supports “seeding”, but whether Pogo will offer this remains to be seen. With nearly 3TB of images, that could be a dealbreaker for me if they can’t do it.

    BTW, the Pogoplug site isn’t showing the Glacier offer that’s in the press release yet – hopefully soon so we can see the details.

  8. Pingback: Anonymous
  9. john says:

    Hi
    It’s great to find this blog.
    I’d like to pick your brains on a couple of questions if I may?

    Background:
    I have a lot of clients using my software who are very poor at making regular back-ups themselves
    and would like a reliable automatic service. They are also very price sensitive w.r.t. to backing up (to the point of foolishness in some cases imo).
    I’m very keen to help them back up because if they lose their data my application’s reputation is quite likely to take a hit even if it was blameless.
    Currently quite a few of them are using Mozy but unfortunately my personal experience of trying to restore from a mozy backup is not great.
    Just now I am just evaluating crashplan which looks very interesting because of its ability to back up to
    several machines as well as to the cloud and also its very reasonable cost.
    My clients just need to back up one folder.

    Questions:
    (1)
    For one client, in windows explorer when I click on the properties of the folder it has 40GB in 37K files.
    However, the crashplan scan put it at 23GB in 45K files.
    How can this be?

    (2)
    I am able to make a connection to the cloud to back up but not to a remote machine.
    Does this mean the problem lies with the remote machine or could it be with the computer I’m backing up from?

    BTW: I also tried to back up files from the other computer to the cloud and to the first machine.
    Same result, I was able to open a connection to crashplan central but not to the other computer.

    ————–

    I’d be very grateful for your advice.
    Thanks
    John

  10. Peter C says:

    Crashplan lost my data too. Luckily I also had a copy of my data on an Apple Time Capsule.

    Crashplan’s backup software seemed to always we working in overdrive scanning and rescanning my hard disk causing the computer to run very slowly. Then, after Crashplan did some weekend data centre updates three of my computers all started sending all of the data again (1.2TB!). Crashplan had lost ALL of the data that we had been sending over to them for 6 months!

    My recommendation is to stay away from them. What good is a backup service if they loose you’re backups?

    • JBraun says:

      Crashplan appeared to have lost my entire 1TB backup (I started with a seed drive), but instead of taking the estimated 5 months to backup all my data again, it ended up being a reindexing process that took under one day. So I hope this is what happened in your case also — as a user, it seems difficult to see if the data is gone or just going through a reindexing process.

      Oh, just so you know I’m no shill for Crashplan… On their public Facebook page, I asked them about data redundancy (after reading this blog post). They refused to address my question, eve though I kept pushing them for an answer. Instead, they suggested I contact customer support if I had an issue, which I took as a tacit admission…

      For my use, I find the small risk I perceive in using Crashplan as being worth the low cost. So far I haven’t had any serious issues. They are storing a ton of data for me, and because I also have a lot of other backup methods, I find the risk as extremely small that Crashplan will lose my data the exact same time all my other data backups fail.

  11. Ian Evans says:

    Considering the issues they seem to have with their online service, I’m wondering how many people are using the free friend-to-friend aspect of Crashplan. I think it’d be really worth it if you had a friend in another city. Each of you buys a big drive and allows the other to do an encrypted backup to it.

    • marslane says:

      friend-to-friend: that works really well, better than Crashplan own Backup :P, i have 3 PC’s connected, no problems.

      Cp backup is useless:
      they seem to use “random delete” to keep some space free in servers?
      I had 469 GB backed, (i took me 3 months to upload)
      today CP “lost” most of it, status now: ~90 GB only uploaded, (also reindex did not help.)
      so now i need to upload ~370 GB again, omg

      this is not backup, this is ….. i do not know what this is,
      one customer less.

  12. Mac says:

    Wow, seems you’ve had a hell of a time with them. I’d like to add my bit too, cos I’ve also recently found them utterly useless. See here: https://www.markc.me.uk/MarkC/Blog/Entries/2013/1/4_Crashplan_-_A_new_low_in_Internet_Backups.html

    I’m having to start again. Currently I have a CrashPlan account with about 40 days left on it, but hardly anything up there. I’ve also signed up to BackBlaze and am currently uploading to that too (fortunately, I have three internet connections at home so some fancy routing has sorted that out).

    I will need to decide in the next month which I stay with – or rather, whether I renew Crashplan or not.

    Must admit my faith in them has been completely rocked after a couple of years of great service.

  13. David says:

    Crashplan lost my wife’s data as well – due to a system ‘glitch’ that was exposed when we had a workstation drive failure. They lost her data on the central server – as well as her data on a second local peer Crashplan backup I was running at home. Apparently when they ‘lost’ her backup on the central server – their automated system sent a ‘kill’ command to the crashplan peer I was running at home which deleted the Crashplan backup of her PC we were keeping locally. They contracted with ONTRACK to attempt a forensic data recovery which was unsuccessful.

    Last couple of family get-together photo’s which included pictures of my Mom and Uncle before they passed are now lost forever.

    Crashplan’s failure defeated the backup ‘Rule of Three’ – We had copies of those photos stored in three locations – on the original PC, the local Crashplan backup peer, and the central Crashplan repository.

    Root Cause? I was told that the backup data in the central repository must have been corrupt.

    Lesson learned? Need to include more vendor diversity when considering your backup strategy.

    • JBraun says:

      I think the lesson I get from this is, not just two backups, but two backups using different hardware and software.

      Some might think I’m insanely paranoid, but I have: a Mac TimeMachine backup going at all times + CrashPlan + DropBox (w/ pack rat, delete nothing option) + 2 drives that I rotate and clone to every 2 weeks + I also clone to 2 offsite backups that I rotate every 6 months. And I’m still nervous I’ll lose something!

    • Dheeraj says:

      I’d suggest you use Bitcasa instead of dropbox. The cheapest dropbox plan is 9.99/month, Bitcasa is 10$/month with infinite storage and infinite versions and version control, every version of a file can be recovered – whether deleted or not. And infinite storage integrated into the file system of the OS.

    • Jimmy says:

      While I’m not completely satisfied with Crashplan (it seems to delete backups of deleted files despite being told not to), it is at least an honest business unlike the stinking pile of **** that is Bitcasa. By all means don’t waste your money on it like I did.

  14. Rik Hemsley says:

    I understand that you’re annoyed that your CrashPlan backup was broken and you had to recreate it, but you already knew, as everyone hopefully should, that you must have at least two backups.

    CrashPlan seem to have dealt with this issue quite well – they acknowledged the problem, disclosed all the details and provided you with a faster means to back up to them, for free, to help you get back to two backups quickly.

    Of course CrashPlan aren’t perfect – their support has been awful for some time, but they’ve been hiring and training to fix that – but, again, this is why you should have two.

    Perhaps the advice about having two backups should be more clear: ALWAYS have two backups. Don’t have one – and be waiting for a second to work. If you want to change to a different second backup, keep the current second backup in place until you’ve done so.

  15. David says:

    @ Rik Hemsley

    Yea, I’m annoyed.

    I had two backups – one to Crashplan Central (paid) – the second to Crashplan (free) running on a (local) PC that did nothing but run a basic OS + Crashplan which stored backups to a large external USB drive (as a local source for restoring files on my home LAN if needed).

    Crashplan did not “…provided you with a faster means to back up to them, for free, to help you get back to two backups quickly.”

    To be clear – NO DATA WAS RECOVERED OR RESTORED after the ‘glitch’.

    When the Crashplan central repository ‘glitched’ – the ‘Crashplan Master Control’ sent a ‘kill’ command to the local (peer) PC that was running Crashplan backups to that external drive.

    Followers of this sad story should keep in mind that even with the free peer-to-peer backup mechanism with Crashplan you still ‘home’ (aka register with UserID/Password, etc) each instance of the Crashplan application running on your workstation(s) to the ‘Crashplan Master Controller’. From my experience, this means that your local Crashplan backups, running on your hardware, to your local storage, are at risk of being deleted (destroyed) by a single remote ‘kill’ command from the ‘Crashplan Master Control’ at any time and without any warning.

    I’m also disappointed but compelled to add that, for a company that is competing in the ‘data backup’ market, Crashplan central apparently does not have a working procedure to backup/verify/restore the customer data entrusted to their keeping or this series of blog posts wouldn’t exist.

    The idea that “Oops its gone” still leaves me stunned.

    Crashplan remains a (somewhat smaller) part of my personal backup strategy but I am no longer the strong advocate/evangelist that I once was.

  16. ilium007 says:

    I came up for my $149 annual fee today. I won’t be continuing with CrashPlan (or any cloud provider) – I will backup to external drives and take one to work each day.

  17. Bob Robertson says:

    FYI – I am also leaving backblaze today because they still do not store data for more than 4 weeks. I did go on vacation and then had a family emergency and was away from my computer for 2 months. I had to restore some data because of a damaged USB drive and they had already deleted it.

  18. Tobby says:

    I have a homeserver (NAS) and was running crashplan on it. All my computer were backing up to this homeserver and the homeserver was backing up to crashplan. Uploaded about 9TB of data in about 1.5-2 years. Then suddenly something/someone sent the “kill” command to my server. It got deactivated from crashplan. Not only all of my data (9.5TB !!!) got deleted on their server, also all local backups (!) were deleted automatically, too. This is horrible. Support is searching for the issue… At first they said I did this myself…

    • Tobby says:

      Together with the “Lead Debugger” we found out what went wrong… In 2011 I had a test account at “Ceejay”. They are using the Crashplan (ProE) Software to sell their own cloud based backup service. But I didn’t extend my account after the trial period. When uninstalling the CrashPlan client, the GUID of my computer was NOT deleted. Then I installed the normal CrashPlan client and backed up for 1,5-2 years, but using the same GUID as during the Ceejay trial period without noticing. Now (Feb. 2013) Crashplan and Ceejay synced their accounts. This is new. In the ceejay-database my computer was marked as deactivated – sure, I don’t have an account there anymore. But this has overwritten the entry of my valid account for this guid, so crashplan deactivated my computer. Every backup OF this computer and ON this computer was deleted instantly and unrecoverable. There is no way back. They say, I am the only one who experienced this. And they are fixing this bug so it can never happen again for other customers in the future. But my data is gone… They offer me to extend my account so I can use Crashplan 4 years again as of now. As well as a full refund of my 4-year-family-subscription I bought. This will not get my data back, but it will indemnify a little bit.

  19. Noah A. says:

    It does seem like CrashPlan did exactly what a company should do. There’s a human element to all we in technology do, and humans are really random. A mistake was made, and it sucks that it was your data. If anything, the front line staff could have been better appraised of the developments.

    By the way, there’s no use of Amazon for backups. Instead, they use various bandwidth providers to distribute automatic client updates. The client checks to see if it’s running the current version.

  20. Dennis B says:

    OMG. I got an email from CrashPlan a couple of weeks ago indicating they had hardware failure and my data was lost. I’m in the very long process of re-uploading all my data on a DSL connection. Am I to understand from this blog that this has happened several times over the last several years??! Perhaps I should – once again – try another service. I migrated to CrashPlan from Mozy when they no longer offered unlimited backups.

    • Tobby says:

      You will have to pay much much more or there will be no difference in protection against failures. Stay with CrashPlan…

    • Rob says:

      I would ask (demand?) to have CrashPlan send you a seed drive. Otherwise, forcing you to upload a ton of data again is unfair to you, and certainly it means CP is not taking responsibility for their equipment failure (though it does illustrate their lack of data redundancy). Until they have all your data again, they aren’t being a safety net for your data.

      If they won’t agree to send you a seed drive, I’d threaten to blog about their losing your data and also not properly rectifying the issue. I’m sure CP would love another blog, such as this one, to be found by people searching reviews when shopping for a backup service.

      BTW, if CP only had this happen several times over the past few years (meaning to just a few customers over the past few years), then that would be an amazingly low failure rate. I’ve been with them over a year, and they have over 1TB of data that they haven’t appeared to have lost it yet. Though I also have other backups, because I wouldn’t trust any service to be my sole data lifeline. No matter how much redundancy a service has, people (including us end users), software, and hardware can screw up in many ways.

    • Dennis B says:

      I just find it amazing – and alarming – that a data backup service would themselves not have a redundant backup system. However I have had to do recovery in the past and have been otherwise pleased with their service. I do have a CrashPlan local backup as well so I’m not going to insist on a seed drive since it is already about half way completed. I’ll be a little worried about theft until it is completed though.

    • Rob says:

      Dennis, some comments above claim that CrashPlan sent some type of “kill” signal that deleted their local backups AND their CP-hosted backups. In my opinion, having and least two backup methods that use completely different software would be safer than trusting CP’s JAVA-based software for both your backups (any issue with their software would compromise both your backups). And yes, hope for no fire, theft, or other issues if your only complete backup is kept in the same place as your computer.

      Note that I’m extremely paranoid, if you can’t tell.

  21. Solace says:

    Hopefully crashplan will learn from this miserable BS and get some better redundancy in place. The truth is, you never really know the value of any service until you are up sh!t creek and truly need it – and then you find out your money has been paid for nothing, and worse, the service you expected to rely upon is a pile of horse manure.

    Understandably CP will have masses of client data on their servers, but that does not excuse the fact that they aren’t creating a backups of that lot.

    And yes, providing a backup service is going to be technically challenging with billions of files flying around, so hopefully CP can keep improving.

    I use their CP+ service and it seems fine. I hope I will never need it in a disaster. I do occasionally download and test a backup file, but I’ve never really had the need to restore (hope I never will).

    That’s why having 2 external HDD is also critical.

  22. Thank about it says:

    After thinking about it a while. Whats the point of using online backup if it’s simple for backup and you don’t need access to your files remotely? You’re better off making a few cloned backup drives, using something like FreeFileSync to keep all drives up-to-date with each other, and then placing some of your drives off site, out of your house in a drop back where you can physically get to it. For the amount of time and compute resources something like CP takes, I would feel much safer having a physical backup.

    Also, if your main reason to use CP is for remote access, then figure out how to setup a cheap computer server either in your home or somewhere else to access your files. I don’t see the point in online backup anymore. Too much red tape and none of the software is open source so no one knows what the software is actually doing.

    • Rob says:

      Lets say you just saved precious photos from your camera to your computer, or just finished 12 hours working on an urgent project. You go out to pick up some dinner, and come home to find fire or theft has taken it all from you. That is when the benefit of online backup becomes invaluable (because no one takes the time to clone a drive and take it offsite every few hours). Online backups effortlessly and constantly back up your data. Of course, take the time to rotate some offsite backups drives too from time to time, no one should trust their data to a single backup method (I use many redundant backup methods because I’m paranoid and I really value my data). Bottom line, I think it’s hard to ignore the benefit of using the internet to copy your important data to a remote location.

    • Hopefully you never have a fire (or other disaster) where you lose EVERYTHING…Unfortunately I have had to deal with this multiple times over the years with family, friends, clients, et. al.

  23. Matt Harless says:

    I have to say that having dealt with many customer’s backups, this is not really abnormal at all in the land of cloud backup. This happens with all of the backup companies that I have had opportunity to use. Failures happen. The only time it would be a problem is if your system failed while your cloud storage was down. Also, I rarely meet a customer with over 100GB of data, and most are much less even with digital photos, videos, music etc. so most of the issues here are “out of the ordinary”(backups of 1TB plus). I think crashplan handled these issues as well or better than any of the other companies. I personally use backblaze, carbonite, and crashplan and have recommended all three at various times along with others.

    Just a side note, I’m sure you realize that they have not and never will make any money on this bloggers account, and yet they were helpful and willing to do all they could to make it right. Seems like good customer service to me.

    • Jimmy says:

      But apparently they care enough to have someone comment on this blog. ;)

      If the service cannot reliably keep 1TB plus worth of user backup, it should be advertised as such. And I don’t see anywhere from Crashplan’s website that I should expect their service to be unreliable, at least not before I paid.

      Granted, their reliability for me has so far been reasonable, compared with some lesser alternatives especially Bitcasa.

    • Dheeraj says:

      I’d say Bitcasa near-perfect (okay maybe not so much but still very good) in the last month, with good stability and all. But reliability was a very very rare problem in Bitcasa – like, AFTER the data was uploaded.

      Okay but apparently you’ve spent all your frustration you can on Bitcasa.

      About your previous comment, some people are Apple fanbois and some are Microsoft’s. Maybe Bitcasa can have one..? [I do review services occasionally on onlinebackupreviews website). I like anything which is simple, (truly) encrypted and unlimited storage; Bitcasa is the only thing which gives that to me.

      I’ll be more than happy if some other service does that. But nothing – Pogoplug Cloud or OpenDrive or JottaCloud (very good other than the lack of encryption though), as of yet provide encrypted infinite storage..

    • matt harless says:

      That’s my real name jimmy. Don’t work for them. My point was every one of them has failures as all companies do. They handled it reasonably.

    • Jimmy says:

      @Dheeraj: It’s amusing how you keep coming back to this thread about another company, but it’s good that you at least stick to the same name across websites. However, unless they fired their co-funder from Mozy and magically rewrote their entire software during the last month there is no way they can become a service worth trusting any data on, both in terms of reliability and security. I’ll just focus on two aspects of your claims:

      1. As you most likely know if you have been an actual user or an employee, Bitcasa has had all kinds of reliability problems uploading data. Even when it thinks it’s successfully uploaded some files, it most often gets them corrupted. Just try uploading a couple GBs of files and take their checksums on another computer. Hilarity will ensue (if it’s not your data.)

      2. Unlike what you are trying to imply, Bitcasa has no meaningful encryption that gets their users any privacy, AT ALL. Just try to explain how they manage to transcode videos on their web interface.

      Crashplan at least “seems” to offer endpoint encryption, even though there’s no way to verify it. And Crashplan has no difficulty dealing with mounted TrueCrypt volumes while Bitcasa fails miserably. If I were to trust any consumer storage provider to deal with encryption for me today (which is frankly stupid), I would only trust Mega and maybe SpiderOak.

    • Jimmy says:

      @matt: Sorry if you are not a Crashplan employee. There are too many paid reviews and comments on the net; even the Crashplan review on Ars Technica reads like a paid review that several people pointed it out. FWIW, I personally have no problem with paid reviews or even comments at long as they get the facts straight (which is sadly not often the case.) But other people who excuse companies for their mistakes always puzzle me. Surely you are paying to receive the service you paid for? Why should you expect anything less than that?

      Let’s ignore other small-time services for now, but did BackBlaze and Carbonite both loss your data? For real? I never used either, but I’d be very surprised if that’s your experience. At least I can confidently say that Amazon wouldn’t ever loss my data.

  24. jj says:

    I’ve been subscribed to this thread for many months and it’s a bit rich that as soon as someone says something good about crashplan they get accused of being an employee.
    Well I’m going to chime in with my comments.
    Crashplan uniquely allow you to back up to other computers as well as their cloud storage.
    This is really useful because it allows you to do test restores easily (which is a must if you value your data) without having to wait days for a download to happen or for a disk to be delivered.
    I have not tried restoring our data from their cloud so I don’t know how that works but when we used a much more expensive competitor (M***) it took forever and files were missing. Plus that competitor fills up your disk with .part files and when you stop using them it seems to be impossible to remove their software cleanly from your machine.
    We’ve been using Crashplan for about a year and it’s working well for us so far
    It’s obviously not good that they’d lose stuff but we don’t rely on crashplan alone.
    Our hardware guy has also set up backups to an external Hard drive.
    Crashplan are really cheap. That’s part of the reason we use them and probably everyone else too.
    Chances are that if you ever do lose your data that crashplan will save the day.
    But if you want a bit of further peace of mind be prepared to pay for it and buy another service in tandem with crashplan or do it yourself.

  25. Ashley says:

    I’ve been with Crashplan for about 18 months now. The initial upload was downright painful and there were endless delays with constant disconnections from the backup server. Eventually it finished and it has been remarkably smooth since then.

    Fast forward until a month or two ago and for the first time I actually needed to recover a file. I was editing some video and iMovie crashed after which it refused to open the project and the last backup on another drive was around 24 hours old, so nothing like my recent editing. On that occasion Crashplan saved the day and I was impressed. Suddenly the vital purpose of cloud backups became clear.

    A week later I suffered a major glitch in the database of Mail; the first in something like 10 years of use with more than 32000 sent emails. I figured this would be a good opportunity to test Crashplan so I downloaded the entire Mail folder, selecting a version from a day before the problem started. The download took forever but then I discovered several thousand emails were missing, so it was effectively useless. I ended up using Time Machine and restoring my email to a state from just a few ours before and all was fine.

    All of this rather undermined my confidence in Crashplan, so for the last week I’ve been uploading to Backblaze and that should finish tonight. I’ve already taken out a subscription now for Backblaze but I have to decide whether to let Crashplan continue or just get rid of it. I’ve run various restore tests on Backblaze this week and they have all been faultless. I have uploaded just over 800 gigs so far.

    • Berk says:

      Hi Ashley,
      Will you please share your experience with Backblaze and compare it to CrashPlan+? I really can’t decide anymore and my trial periods on both system are about to end.
      Thank you very much in advance!

  26. Ian says:

    I’m curious if there’s an easy way to put together a DIY version of Crashplan’s Backup to a Friend feature, i.e. open source software(s) that would allow you to save an _encrypted_ backup/sync on a friend or family member’s PC. Imagine you & a friend in another city both buy an extra drive and return the favour to each other. Any ideas. I know there’s Bitorrent sync, but the resulting sync isn’t encrypted.

  27. Simon Plant says:

    I’m about to start to use either Crashplan or Backblaze and wonder if things have improved any over the last few months? I’m concerned over the issues I’ve heard about Crashplan’s Java software being a little flaky (I use Mac’s) and slower than Backblaze to upload.
    I do admit Crashplan does offer some useful features over Backblaze I would find useful BUT if Ashley failed to restore some files when he needed them then this is also a concern.
    Any updated advise would be appreciated.
    Simon

    • jj says:

      @Simon Plant
      Crashplan are very inexpensive and yet they seem to survive in business. Which must mean that they have a large customer base. So my hunch is that incidents of data being lost must be relatively rare.
      This blog post seems to be the goto place for crashplan horror stories.
      You don’t get to hear from satisfied customers much.
      But you should have redundancy built in.
      Get backblaze and crashplan (you don’t even have to pay for that if you just use it to back up to a friend/relatives computer).
      Also you need to do regular restores, which is easy with crashplan if you are backing up to a computer you have physical access to.
      You can’t just hope to put all your faith in a 3rd party and forget about it if you are to act responsibly.
      But it should be pretty unlikely that both backblaze and crashplan would lose your data at the same time your computer gets trashed/stolen.

  28. Chris says:

    Hi,

    Thanks for sharing. I almost bought this service but encountered many bugs when setting up destinations. E.g. when new folder destination is created then it is automatically added to all backups. This is unacceptable for setup I need. I was looking for an alternative to crashplan and I found your post. It looks like I have to keep looking.

    Chris

    • Douglas says:

      Still bugged? I use CP for years and had to stop in 2010 due to bugs and also lost of data. Can’t believe 4 years later still the same.

  29. MIke DUffy says:

    I think what happened in your original case is extremely rare. I wouldn’t shy people away from using Crashplan because of one thing that happened a few years ago. I’m guessing you don’t work in the technology industry? Things like this happen, which is why you need to backup to multiple destinations – just like their site recommends. If you value your data, you’ll spend the time and money to preserve it correctly. I have over 4TB backed up on a Drobo at home and all of that also backed up with Crashplan for the past 2 years with no issues. I’ve also had to rebuild and adopt my backup files with no issues. I would highly recommend Crashplan.

    For the small cost of Unlimited+ service, you really can’t beat it. Yes the initial seed is a lengthy process for those of us with large archives, but that’s part of the deal. Subscribe to high upload internet for a few months to speed up the process.

    • David says:

      Losing customer date when your business is to provide a backup service is inexcusable.

      If you’ve read the details of my Crashplan experience it goes even further; not only did they lose my data but Crashplan also destroyed the redundant backup stored on my home LAN on my own hardware is.

      You’d be well served to learn and take appropriate precautionary action from my “worst case” experience.

  30. Sounds like to be safe with your data and based on your experience, you really need two separate software implementations and at least 2 backup destinations. I have been using Crashplan for a month and already had an issue where I had to report to technical support that the software stopped backing up to one of my destinations even though this destination was obviously reachable. It hadn’t backed up for 5 days before I noticed.

    The answer was to remove the destination and put it back again (which worked)… not necessarily a huge confidence booster on the quality of their system (exception handling). That said, there does seem to be a lot of pluses to the system… huge pluses compared to Memeo Instant backup that I was using before…. which had stopped working for almost a month before I noticed :) Then again, in the end if it doesn’t work reliably, I can’t use it and will need to find something else. The thing is, is the devil you know better than the devil you don’t know?

    • Rob says:

      Good point about what happens when an automatic backup stops working, and you don’t notice. I think many backup systems have this potential issue, that you see it working fine for a long time, stop thinking about it, then discover one day that it hasn’t worked in months (that’s happened to me). And I agree that multiple backups (using different software, not just one type of software backing up to multiple destinations) is the way to go, to protect against any flaw or setting error in that one piece of software screwing up all your backups.

      One benefit I’ve found with Crashplan is there’s a setting for “Backup Status and Alerts” that allows you to be notified in as few as 1 day by email if your system has not backed up. I don’t know if it’s 100% reliable (I haven’t tested it thoroughly, but noticed I got an email when I shut down my computer on vacation), but it’s exactly the type of notification that we both agree is important, so a user doesn’t go too long w/o knowing automated backups are proceeding as expected. I think the default setting is 3 days, but I changed it to 1 day.

      As a paranoid person, I use Crashplan for all my user files, plus Dropbox for work in progress, plus several redundant local backups (clones and incremental and occasional offsite), because I REALLY don’t want to lose important work or important family photos.

  31. Ernst-Emil says:

    I just bought the CP+ Family unlimited for a month to test if this is for me.
    I am also kind of a paranoid regarding my data.
    I use Drobbox and Macrium Reflect.
    I take psychical backup with MR to two different hard drives.

    But I would like to have everything in the sky for extra peace of mind.
    This CP model looks promising, but as a paranoid guy I am aware that there might be some pittfalls.

    I have also contacted there support, and they respond fairly quick.

    I asked this question 12 hours ago, but I would like if anybody here can confirm if they see the same.
    ________________________________________________________________________________
    Copy of post to CP support:

    I chose 448-bit encryption with custom 448-bit key.
    I used the import to use my own key.

    But the key is visible in > settings > security (see screenshot) I changed the key in screenshot for security.

    As you write here https://support.crashplan.com/doku.php/articles/encryption_key

    “You can never downgrade.
    This prevents someone from recovering your lost or stolen computer and using CrashPlan to downgrade your security.”

    But the key is showing, so no downgrade is necessary to get access to my data.
    ___________________________________________________________________________________

    Here is a screenshot of my question.
    I did restart the program and computer, but the key is still showing.
    –The key in the screenshot is changed ofcourse :)

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/5s3c9wbtve4jtux/Key.JPG

    Have a great day

    Ernst

  32. Jimmy says:

    If you really are serious about data privacy, you shouldn’t trust the encryption of Crashplan (and most other backup providers) being actually secure at all in the first place, as its client isn’t open source.

    That said, if for whatever reason you DO trust their encryption, I don’t think the encryption key showing on your machine is much of a security risk, as when someone has access to that screen, they already have access to your PC and your data on that PC anyway. What Crashplan meant to say is that when that happens, the thief can’t access additional backup data from your other PCs because each gets an unique encryption key.

  33. Berk says:

    I’ve started to try CrashPlan+ because all I wanted was reliable online backup system. I made a research and CrashPlan seemed good to try. After only 8 DAYS, I am receiving “destination unavailable – not available” error! I don’t know when it started but it has been 7 hours since I run the computer and no luck. The server my files are on is not available, I cannot even see my uploaded files. There is no clue about my online data. I don’t care if this is maintenance thing (it shouldn’t have lasted more than 7 hours anyway) but obviously, they cannot keep their promises. I don’t wanna contact with support team every time I get an error and try not to worry about my data loss possibility. CrashPlan+ is a paid service and they should give the service that you are paying for.

  34. James.L says:

    Not sure if all of these are just isolated cases. I mean I have had dropbox for the last 4 years and I have never has this kind of problem.

  35. Sam says:

    @Jeffrey,
    In trying to keep it brief.
    Platform: Mac Maverics. Imaci7 256SSD&2TB internal Migration to MacPro 1GBSSD & 3Tb Xtrnl.
    After the Migration… and on or about June 13th… I could NO LONGER SEE MY DATA….
    Crash Plan (app) would intermittently start/attempt to backup the new data on the Migrated Drives. (Apple/Time Machine Migration did not fully bring over data)
    I make my first call into CrashPlan…. in a nutshell I have been told several things… Many times 1: the Data Center has a lock on your data, your data is safe (we can see it)
    the cache on your machine needs rebuilding, and the best one of all. give it a few hours. well a few hours has now been 5 days. and still no sign of my data.

    Techs: Brian and Tim. These guys are the nicest guys you will probably ever have the pleasure to speak with. They really seem to be covering every base they can.
    perhaps the only reason they have not been able to get my dat back is possibly due in part. their leve of access within Code42’s sea of techs. ie: tier1 tech support vs tier4
    But they sound like valuable employees all the same.

    Back on Subject. its now the end of Day 5… I suggested/Asked they ship me my data back on Disc. they said they could But I would have to pay for it. (“the nerve”)
    really…? If this is my only choice I say OKAY… but really Code 42. is this how you treat your clients?

    About me. Im a I.T. Prof. I have had Crash plan for 3.3 years now. I prepaid a Family plan. at the suggestion of a respected Apple employee. I have since
    been responsible for the sale of at least 5 Business’s (and several personal accounts) signing up with CrashPlan. All of which have prepaid.

    Prior to 5 days ago I do not think you could have convinced me my data could be lost…. today?
    well. the verdict has not ben rendered as of yet. but its not looking good.
    As for future recommendations? thats not looking good either.

    Most of the previous posts have have very good information to add to this subject. and we all know we dont live in a perfect world.

    I use to think “practice makes perfect.” but I was wrong. “Perfect practice make perfect”
    I can only hope Code42 starts practicing better. because we all know what “bad practice” leads to.

    So far very displeased.

    TS.

  36. Mike says:

    This thread is still going. Wow.
    Honestly, I don’t trust any of them anymore. If you need to access your data then you obvious need some kind of cloud. But if you’re just backing up for disaster reasons, It’s best to just buy an internal hard drive (two of them because you will want to clone one and keep it off site in case of a home fire or break in) Put two bays in your computer They’re cheap
    https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817990001

    Always keep two hard drives. (Cone them using a free program called FreeFileSync:
    https://sourceforge.net/projects/freefilesync/
    FreeFileSync compares one or a folder for example against another and makes the left window match the right source window). So say you have two 1TB drives. One drive you would want to keep off site at a family members house, or storage unit, and the other keep in your computer as your daily backup. Then at some point swap the them out after few weeks or months, after you’ve run FreeFileSync with both of them in the computer and cloned the drive that was off-site against the one you had in the system. So now the drive that was in your computer you will keep off-site and the one that was off site is in your computer. Keep rotating them.

  37. Mike says:

    Typo, Above I meant to say: The Left window (drive or folder) in FreeFileSync is your source: And the drive or folder pointing to the right window will be overwritten to match the left source folder. In the settings however, you must remember to change the program from “Two Way” to “Mirror” for the program to clone as I explained above. You only need to make this setting change once after you install the program.

    Sorry I had revised the two in the post above by accident.

  38. snigdha says:

    Unable to install crash plan in synology, i tried so many times still always getting install.sh file problem, even i downloaded 3 4 time, plz any body help me on this

  39. snigdha says:

    1.I installed it in linux, “crashplan central” is always showing “waiting for connection”
    2.With proxy even it is not allowing me to create a account.
    3.Unable to install crash plan in synology, i tried so many times still always getting install.sh file problem, even i downloaded 3/ 4 times
    4.Even if after installation, unable to launch

    Hope i will get some reply, really disgusting……….

  40. Pingback: Backup Konzept
  41. Ryan says:

    This company is TERRIBLE!! They also lost my backup. Over 500 gigs of data. I thought I was fully backed up as their software said I was and formatted my computer to put on a fresh copy of windows. Apparently their software figured the best backup solution would be to back the data up TO MY OWN HARD DRIVE ON MY OWN COMPUTER!?!?!?!?!? They only had 40 gigs of data at their storage center. Apparently their software backed up all my data to my computer that needed to have its data backed up. That is the biggest crock of crap I’ve ever heard of in my life. Not sure why their software would perform such a worthless task. Needless to say I have lost 1.5 years worth of work and important files that I use to make a living with. I am no longer a customer and have moved to Backblaze. Their system seems to be much better and appears to be working smoothly and properly.

    • Oh dear says:

      CrashPlan doesn’t back up anywhere by default, Ryan. You have to tell it where to back up. You chose your own computer’s hard drive.

    • Berk says:

      Wow, I’m so sorry Ryan. I’ve lost lots of stuff just because of my own fault and I know how you feel. Actually, no I don’t. Your disaster was caused by a company which promised to keep your all data SAFE.
      I still don’t use a cloud backup service. I need one but there is no solution that fits my need out there, yet.
      I should warn you about Backblaze, though: They only keep your deleted data up to 1 month. You cannot use it as a storage service. I wish you could, then I would use their service without a doubt.

  42. Tex says:

    And just one other caution about Backblaze. Over the course of about 6 months I uploaded almost 4TB of data to BB, only to have a local disk corruption (ironically, not even on my data disk) about six months after that preventing any new data from being uploaded to BB. They haven’t lost any of my data but they have no way to fix the problem short of deleting the existing backup data and me uploading everything again. There’s no seeding option, and I’m not willing to go through another six months of uploading and then hope it won’t happen again, so I’m back to swapping three portable drives and storing two offsite all of the time. It’s far from convenient, but at least I know I have backups.

    I’m not sure any consumer cloud backup service is reliable at this point. I’ve been with Mozy, Crashplan and BB. All had issues.The reality is if any of these services charged enough to assume liability for your data they’d be unaffordable for 99.9% of users. Nothing’s changed – you get what you pay for.

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