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    Home > CrashPlan > Latest > Configuring > Using CrashPlan On A Headless Computer

    Using CrashPlan On A Headless Computer

    Applies to:
    • CrashPlan for Home
    • CrashPlan PRO
    • CrashPlan PROe

    Overview

    The CrashPlan app is designed with the assumption that the CrashPlan user interface and the CrashPlan service are running on the same computer. When the CrashPlan app is installed on a computer without a graphical environment, also called "running on a headless computer," the CrashPlan service must be administered from another computer.  

    Although running the CrashPlan service on a headless computer is an unsupported feature, this article describes a process that some users have found useful.

    This process applies to CrashPlan for Home, CrashPlan PRO, and CrashPlan PROe version 4.3 and later. CrashPlan PROe administrators for earlier versions may refer to Using CrashPlan On A Headless Computer (Version 4.2 and earlier).

    Definitions

    The following terms are used throughout this article.

    CrashPlan service

    The CrashPlan service or engine that performs all backup operations in the background on a device running the CrashPlan app.

    CrashPlan user interface
    The application that you can launch from your menu or icon bar. It is responsible for displaying the CrashPlan interface and configuring your backup settings.
    headless computer
    A computer that does not have a graphical environment or does not have a monitor attached.
    local computer
    A computer that uses the CrashPlan app to configure settings on the remote computer.
    remote computer
    A "headless computer" that runs the CrashPlan service but does not display the CrashPlan interface.

    Considerations​

    • Port Configurations: This article describes forwarding local port 4200 to remote port 4243, the default listening port used by the CrashPlan app. This is an example configuration; the ports used by your computer may vary:
      • The CrashPlan app communicates with the CrashPlan service using port 4243 by default.
      • Backing up from one computer to another—for example, backing up from your local computer to your remote computer—uses port 4242 by default.
      • Version 4.3 and later only: If the default ports are already in use on your computer, CrashPlan uses another pair of available ports. You should identify the ports used by the CrashPlan app on your computer.
      • While this article uses the example port 4200, you can use any available port on your local computer.
    • CrashPlan App Upgrades:
      • The CrashPlan app will not automatically upgrade if it does not connect to a local CrashPlan service. If your CrashPlan app is configured only to connect to a remote CrashPlan service, then you must manually uninstall and reinstall the CrashPlan app when an upgrade is available.
      • The configurations shown in this article are overwritten during each upgrade to the CrashPlan app and CrashPlan service. After upgrading, you must repeat the steps shown here.
    • CPU Settings:
      • CrashPlan's default settings use more CPU when a user is away or idle. If you observe high load when running a headless computer, consider lowering the allowed CPU percentage in the CrashPlan app.
      • Headless computers are almost always in this state, so the CrashPlan app will try to use a larger percentage of available CPU.
      • The CrashPlan app on Linux cannot detect when a user is away, so Linux devices always use the away setting.
    • Network Attached Storage (NAS) Considerations
      • Installing CrashPlan directly on a NAS device is unsupported, which means our Customer Champions are unable to assist you with any issues you encounter with this configuration.
      • CrashPlan does support backing up NAS devices only as mounted network shares for Mac, Linux, and Solaris, but does not support this configuration for Windows.
      • Most NAS hardware isn't able to handle high-I/O operations like compression, encryption, and de-duplication, which are essential components of CrashPlan. We strongly recommend directly-attached storage for best performance.
      • Most NAS devices cannot back up large amounts of data due to the devices' memory limitations. However, it may be possible to change these settings.

    Unsupported Process
    The information presented here is intended to offer information to advanced users. However, Code42 does not design or test products for the use described here. This information is presented because of user requests.

    Our Customer Champions cannot assist you with unsupported processes, so you assume all risk of unintended behavior. You may want to search our support forum for information from other users.

    Before You Begin

    • Install CrashPlan on the local computer and the remote computer.
    • Set up an SSH server on the remote computer and verify that it is accessible from the local computer.
    • (Windows only) Install PuTTY or another SSH client on the local computer.

    Steps to remotely administer CrashPlan

    Step 1: Copy The Authentication Token

    Copy the authentication token from the .ui_info file from the remote computer to the local computer. The .ui_info file contains port information and an authentication token for connecting a CrashPlan app with a CrashPlan service.

    Example of .ui_info

    On the remote computer:

    1. Close the CrashPlan app, if necessary.
    2. Navigate to the file .ui_info.
    3. Open .ui_info.
    4. Copy the authentication token from .ui_info for use on the local computer.
      The authentication token is the string of alphanumeric characters and dashes that follows the comma.
    5. Close .ui_info.​

    Step 2: Edit The Local CrashPlan Configuration

    Change the CrashPlan app configuration on the local computer to use a forwarded port.

    On the local computer:

    1. Close the CrashPlan app.
    2. On your file system, locate the .ui_info file.
      A list of .ui_info locations by operating system is provided below. 
    3. Create a backup copy of .ui_info, such as original.ui_info.
    4. Edit .ui_info:
      1. Change the port to 4200.
      2. Replace the existing authentication token with the authentication token from the remote computer.
    5. Save your changes.
    6. Close .ui_info.

    Step 3: Start Port Forwarding On The Local Computer

    Forward an unused port on the local computer to the listening port on the remote computer. These steps show how to forward local port 4200 to remote port 4243, the default listening port, using the ssh command. For other options, see Alternative Port Forwarding Options below.

    On the local computer:

    1. Open a command prompt, such as Terminal.
    2. Use the ssh command with the -L flag to forward local port 4200 to remote port 4243.
      Example command:
      ssh -L 4200:localhost:4243 user@192.0.2.2
    3. Sign in to the remote computer using your SSH credentials.
    4. (Optional) Use telnet to confirm the connection.

    Step 4: Configure Remote Settings From The Local Computer

    Use the local computer's CrashPlan app to apply settings to the CrashPlan service on the remote computer. 

    On the local computer:

    1. Open the CrashPlan app with port forwarding active.
    2. Configure CrashPlan settings for the remote computer.
    3. Close the CrashPlan app.

    Step 5: Restore Normal Operation

    To use CrashPlan normally on the local computer, stop port forwarding and allow the CrashPlan app to connect to the local CrashPlan service.

    On the local computer:

    1. Close the tool you used to configure port forwarding.
    2. On your file system, locate the .ui_info files you created in Step 2.
      A list of .ui_info locations by operating system is provided below. 
    3. Delete your modified .ui_info file.
    4. Move or rename the backup copy of .ui_info you created in Step 2 so that the file name and location match the file's correct location for your operating system.

    Now that you have restored the original network settings and stopped port forwarding, any changes you make on the local computer's CrashPlan app are applied only to the CrashPlan service on the local computer.

    Additional Information

    Locations Of .ui_info On All Operating Systems

    • Windows Vista, 7, 8, 10, Server 2008, and Server 2012
      • Installed for everyone: C:\ProgramData\CrashPlan\.ui_info
        To view this hidden folder, open Windows Explorer and paste the path in the address bar.
      • Installed per userC:\Users\<username>\AppData\<Local|Roaming>\CrashPlan\.ui_info
        To view this hidden folder, open Windows Explorer and paste the path in the address bar.
    • Windows XP
      • Installed for everyone: C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\CrashPlan\.ui_info
        To view this hidden folder, open Windows Explorer and paste the path in the address bar.
      • Installed per user: C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Application Data\CrashPlan\.ui_info 
        To view this hidden folder, open Windows Explorer and paste the path in the address bar.
    • OS X:
      • Installed for everyone: /Library/Application Support/CrashPlan/.ui_info
      • Installed per user: ~/Library/Application Support/CrashPlan/.ui_info
    • Linux: /var/lib/crashplan/.ui_info
    • Solaris/var/lib/crashplan/.ui_info

    Alternative Port Forwarding Options

    Windows computers do not have a command-line SSH option available. We recommend installing PuTTY to create an SSH tunnel on Windows.

    1. Open PuTTY.
    2. Go to the settings for Connection > SSH > Tunnels.
    3. Enter these settings:
      • Source port: 4200
      • Destination: localhost:4243
    4. Click Add.
      Correct tunnel settings in PuTTY
    5. Go to the Session settings.
    6. Enter the appropriate connection information in Host Name (or IP address) field.
      Main SSH settings in PuTTY
    7. (Optional) To save these connection options for later reuse, enter a label in Saved Sessions and click Save.
    8. Click Open to open the SSH tunnel.
    9. Sign in to the remote computer using your SSH credentials.
    10. (Optional) Use telnet to confirm the connection.

    Confirm SSH Tunneling With Telnet

    After establishing an SSH tunnel, you can use the telnet command to contact the local port. If the SSH tunnel is connected, the telnet connection to the local port will return a positive result.

    • Example command:
      telnet localhost 4200
      
    • Example output of a successful connection:
      username$ telnet localhost 4200
      Trying 127.0.0.1...
      Connected to localhost.
      Escape character is '^]'.
      

    Confirm The Listening Port

    If you cannot connect from the local computer to the CrashPlan service on the remote computer, you can confirm on the remote computer that the CrashPlan service is listening and locate the listening port.

    1. Open a command prompt, such as Windows Powershell or OS X Terminal.
    2. Use a network statistics command to show listening ports.
      • On OS X and Linux, use netstat with grep to filter the list:
        netstat -na | grep LISTEN | grep 42
        
      • On Windows, use PowerShell to filter the list:
        Get-NetTCPConnection -State Listen -LocalPort 4243
        

    The output of your command should show that port 4243 is listening on the local address:

    username$ netstat -na | grep LISTEN | grep 42
    tcp4       0      0  *.4242                 *.*                    LISTEN
    tcp4       0      0  127.0.0.1.4243         *.*                    LISTEN
    

    External Resources

    There are numerous resources on the Internet for installing CrashPlan on a NAS device. Here are a few how-to articles for several popular devices:

    For additional information on PuTTY and SSH port forwarding, review the following:

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    Last modified
    08:21, 10 Aug 2015

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