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CrashPlan

CNET Editors' review

Instead of mucking around with removable media, Crashplan offers up a distinct alternative. Banking on ubiquitous high-speed Internet access and more than one computer per household, this service allows you to back up your entire computer to as many discreet locations as you can manage. This includes Crashplan's servers, a second PC of yours, or even your friend's computer.

Designed for PCs and Macs, Crashplan's backups are encrypted before they're sent out. The backup process runs effortlessly in the background over a high-speed network, but we wouldn't recommend it to anyone still on a dial-up modem. The simple and intuitive interface makes preference changes easy, whether you're adding or dropping files from the backup process or choosing a new backup location.

The benefit of off-site safety and security could potentially save you thousands of dollars, as anyone who has had to salvage a fire-damaged hard drive knows. Crashplan charges 10 cents per gigabyte per month to use their servers, but the company discourages this option. Given the ever-dropping cost of memory and storage drives, Crashplan may not be the wave of the future, but it's nice to have a choice for backing up essential files other than shelling out for yet another hard drive.

Publisher's Description

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All User Reviews
  • All versions:

    3.0 stars

    out of 54 votes

    • 5 star: 21
    • 4 star: 5
    • 3 star: 1
    • 2 star: 9
    • 1 star: 18
  • Current version:

    2.9 stars

    out of 7 votes

    • 5 star: 1
    • 4 star: 3
    • 3 star: 0
    • 2 star: 0
    • 1 star: 3
  • My rating:

    0 stars

    Write review

Results 1-7 of 7

  • 1.0 stars

    "Seems to backup (does not). Can't restore."

    March 5, 2014  |   By philos41

    Version: CrashPlan 3.5.3

    Pros

    Everything has been going well for a year. Well, it seemed that way anyway. It was not.

    Cons

    Does not work. That's pretty bad, right? For backup software. "SEEMS" to back everything up, but if you look at the versions, they are not all there. The online version of your files will not match the desktop app (it is supposed to). If you follow their instructions and STOP the service and reSTART it, it will "seem" to rebuild, but it does not. After this the files are in even worse sync with the cloud's list. Then... if you try to restore a file, well, it just does not work. This week I needed to restore a file. Crashplan zipped the file (even though it was only 10KB) and inside the zip file, they inserted a "%" in the file name. So... obviously that will not work. PKZip just chokes on it. Can't get the file out.

    Summary

    Stay away. Your files being safely backed up is an illusion. When you need to do a restore, you will NOT be able to.

    Updated on Mar 5, 2014

    When reading the other reviews, pay close attention to whether they have actually DONE a restore. If not, they don't realize that it is not going to work.

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  • 4.0 stars

    "Solid And Truly Handy - Works great on the Mac for me"

    December 17, 2013  |   By datbates2

    Version: CrashPlan 3.5.3

    Pros

    Great interface
    Slick and smart backup
    Set it and forget it
    Starts at $40 a year for unlimited data! How do they do it?

    Cons

    Upload speed is just OK. I only occasionally get more than 4 mbps
    There are two installers I found, one seems to be for pro and one seems to be for home. The pro one requires some futzing with java's setup and I couldn't get it to work, but the home one worked perfectly. They need to clean up this mess a bit.

    Summary

    Have had zero issues using the software once I got the right installer. It looks great, and is a pleasure to use. I had to restore my iTunes library file and it worked perfectly and offered me 30 backed up versions to choose from. It was so convenient and quick to restore! I have achieved about 4 mbps average upload. Not fast, but my 700 GB of data is finally off site and safe. It seems to make smart decisions about what to backup first. It doesn't use too much processor and the bandwidth limiter stuff seems to work if you need it.

    Can't say enough good about it really. I am impressed and I am a hard to please software engineer.

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  • 4.0 stars

    "Service has been reliable for me"

    December 7, 2013  |   By T-F

    Version: CrashPlan 3.5.3

    Pros

    I have over 500GB of files on a Win7 system and CrashPlan backed it up with no issues around Sept-Nov. At least one review pointed to backups not occurring during this period but my backups ran without any issues. Regarding throttling, it definitely appears that CrashPlan puts a max speed on uploads (could be between 1-2Mbps/s). Once the initial file set was protected, this isn't an issue unless you are adding 100+MB per day of unique data that doesn't dedupe or compress. Overall, when I add music, pictures, etc. to my drive, CrashPlan automatically protects it and sends me an update email confirming the status. I haven't seen an outage since I've been on the service. The service does allow for setting different bandwidth schedules, limit the amount of CPU used for dedupe, compression, etc.

    Cons

    I have decent download bandwidth but only 2Mbps on the upload. If there is an backup occurring, I've seen some IP phone calls get garbled. This can be addressed by limiting the amount of bandwidth used and this would occur with any cloud backup service.

    Summary

    It works, provides a status and you really don't have to think about it at all.

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  • 4.0 stars

    "needs two-factor authorization"

    November 9, 2013  |   By ingber

    Version: CrashPlan 3.5.3

    Pros

    Does backups of files and folders very well, online & offline.

    Cons

    For offline, there is a serious security hole: They need to offer two-factor authentication (2FA) ASAP for web logins.

    Summary

    For all their bits of encryption, they sorely lack two-factor authentication! At the least this should be offered to paying customers, like to CrashPlan+ customers.

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  • 1.0 stars

    "Very bad backup solution"

    October 25, 2013  |   By ChrisBerclaz

    Version: CrashPlan 3.5.3

    Pros

    The unlimited plan would make you think it's a Pro. It is not

    Cons

    Bandwidth is extremely narrow and seems to decrease as the backup progress (has been reported numerous time)

    Summary

    CashPlan has been struggling for a week with some of its servers at end of October 2013. The problem is still not resolved and backup are not possible.

    I am a paying user of CrashPlan with their "3 years unlimited plan". Unfortunately (and regardless of their current technical issue) the bandwidth offered is extremely limited and while CrashPlan offers an "unlimited space" plan, it is very practically limited to small setup (looks like less than a Tb). There have been rumours of throttling but CrashPlan has always denied that fact. They might be simply using other techniques to limit the bandwidth thus they can deny the claim of throttling.

    In my personal setup, I have a backup set of currently (25 Oct 2013) 3.4Tb, which I started to backup on August 2nd at the time at 3.2Tb. CrashPlan is reporting weekly by email the progress of the backup and I have thus used it to calculate the average transfer speed each week since the backup started (in % completion, speed)

    week 1: (4%, 2 Mbps)
    week 2: (8%, 1.7Mbps)
    week 3: (11%, 1,.3Mbps)
    week 4: (15%, 1.6Mbps)
    week 5: (19%, 1.9Mbps)
    week 6: (23%, 1.8Mbps)
    week 7: (27%, 2.3Mbps)
    week 8: (31%, 1.8Mbps)
    week 9: (36%, 1.9Mbps)
    week 10: (39%, 1.4Mbps)
    week 11: (41%, 1.3Mbps)
    week 12: (44%, 0.9Mbps)

    As it can be seen, the backup started at a meagre 2Mbps (I am on optical fibre on my end so my internet connection is not the bottleneck) and it remained stable until reaching 30%, since then the throughput is consistently decreasing week after week. The last figure is of course much worse as CrashPlan was unable to backup for a number of days. Even ignoring this data point, the trend is very clear: CrashPlan might not be throttling users but they are surely using other means to reduce bandwidth, this echoes a number of other similar report.

    I'd be happy to provide the actual time series if any user or prospective user would like to have a better look. It factors for the size increase of the data set during the period.

    I have been in contact with their "Champion" in the past, providing extensive logs, but all they say is: it's normal, everything is a-ok. So what I experience is what every CrashPlan user should expect: if your dataset is big your backup might come to a crawl...

    I have, maybe naively, put this comment on their Facebook page but it was removed. I guess they prefer to have only happy users telling about happy stories of their experience with CrashPlan. The fact is: 12 weeks ago CrashPlan was predicting my backup to end in about 4 months, 3 months later it tells me that I should expect another 6 months to complete. If other experience is right, this time is likely to continuously increase and I might never be able to complete my backup.

    Still I have paid and I will continue to monitor and to report back my experience. In the meantime I have completed a 2nd backup (my strategy being anyway in redundancy) with Amazon Glacier and the same amount of data was backed up in 3 months (it just finished).

    Bottom line: for prospective clients, be careful and think twice if you plan to backup large amount of data!

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Great software"

    October 9, 2013  |   By monkeyfurball

    Version: CrashPlan 3.5.3

    Pros

    Easy to use

    Cons

    No cons that I can see.

    Summary

    Am backing up 7 computers to one unlimited backup account. 2 servers, 1 NAS, 2 laptops and 2 desktops. No major problems at all. All computers are Windows based. You can configure backup times to avoid busy times during the day when bandwidth is more limited. By default, the software backs up any time your system is dormant for 15 minutes. The first backup is of course the longest. After that, differential backups are pretty fast since only changes are being backed up. We have backed up a total of 150 GB of data.

    Updated on Oct 9, 2013

    Tech support is good. I've talked to them three of four times on the phone and they are very helpful. I called asking how to delete a computer from the Plan and they walked me through it.
    Lots of people are bashing this software and I don't know if they are being truthful or simply paid by the competition to give bad reviews. Much of what they are saying is false at least in my experience. One person said that CrashPlan made another backup on his computer. lol. That is completely false. He doesn't know what he's doing. Another person says its slow. Well, ALL cloud backups are slow in the first backup because there is so much data. After that you don't even notice the differential backups.

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  • 1.0 stars

    "Mac users beware"

    August 7, 2013  |   By fredscr

    Version: CrashPlan 3.5.3

    Pros

    seems fine when it works, haven't needed any serious recovery

    Cons

    Frequent crash / connection problems need Terminal commands to fix, but the canned instructions are unclear and don't work. Superficial Customer Service response just repeats them. Finally, after several unhelpful days of back and forth, cust svc offered to call for a walk through-- we'll see, but the whole process is a big time waster that they haven't improved many months after the first time I had this same problem.

    Summary

    Not recommended, at least for Macs

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Results 1-7 of 7

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