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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.

    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​

    • CPU Settings - CrashPlan normally tries to use more CPU when it detects that a user is away or idle. Headless computers are almost always in this state, so CrashPlan will try to use a larger percentage of available CPU. If you observe high load when running a headless computer, consider lowering the allowed CPU percentage in the CrashPlan app.
    • 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 a newer version is released.
    • Network Attached Storage (NAS) Considerations
      • Installing CrashPlan directly on a NAS device is unsupported, meaning 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) Install PuTTY or another SSH client on the local computer.

    Steps

    Follow these high-level steps to use CrashPlan on a headless computer:

    1. Edit a CrashPlan configuration file on the local computer
    2. Prepare the remote computer to listen on port 4243
    3. Connect the local computer to the remote computer with SSH tunnelling
    4. Remotely configure CrashPlan from the local computer
    5. Revert changes to the configuration file to restore normal operation

    Diagram for using CrashPlan on a headless computer

     

    Step 1: Edit The Local ui.properties File

    1. Close the CrashPlan app, if necessary.
    2. Open CrashPlan's ui.properties file in a plain text editor.
      • Windows: C:\Program Files\CrashPlan\conf\ui.properties
      • OS X:
        • /Applications/CrashPlan.app/Contents/Resources/Java/conf/ui.properties
        • ~/Library/Application Support/CrashPlan/ui.properties
          To view this hidden file, open the Finder, press Command-Shift-G, and paste the path. This file takes precedence over ui.properties in /Applications.
      • Linux: /usr/local/crashplan/conf/ui.properties
      • Solaris (when installed as root): /opt/sfw/crashplan/conf/ui.properties
    3. Locate this line:
      #servicePort=4243
    4. Remove the # character and change the port to 4200 (or another available port in your environment):
      servicePort=4200
    5. Save changes to the ui.properties file.

    Step 2: Prepare The Remote Computer

    On the remote computer, confirm that the remote computer is listening on port 4243 on the local address (the UI service port):

    1. Open a command prompt:
      • Windows: PowerShell or Command Prompt
      • OS X: Terminal
      • Linux: Terminal, or the equivalent for your Linux distribution
    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
    
    Computer-To-Computer Backup
    Connecting to the CrashPlan service requires only port 4243. However, backing up from one computer to another—for example, backing up from your local computer to your remote computer—uses port 4242. Consider checking both ports.

    Step 3: Start Port Forwarding On The Local Computer

    Forward port 4200 on the local computer to port 4243 on the remote computer. We recommend using one of these options:

    • SSH, a command-line tool on OS X and Linux
    • PuTTY, an application for Windows and Linux

    Option A: Port Forwarding With SSH

    Use SSH to forward port 4200 on the local device to port 4243 on the remote device. This option is recommended for OS X and Linux but not Windows, which does not have a built-in SSH client.

    1. Open a command prompt:
      • OS X: Terminal
      • Linux: Terminal, or the equivalent for your distribution or device
    2. Use the ssh command to forward port 4200 on the local device to port 4243 on the remote device:
      ssh -L 4200:localhost:4243 <username>@192.0.2.2
    3. (Optional) Use telnet to confirm the connection.
      • Example command:
        telnet localhost 4200
      • The output of telnet should show that you can connect to the remote device:
        username$ telnet localhost 4200
        Trying 127.0.0.1...
        Connected to localhost.
        Escape character is '^]'.

    Option B: Port Forwarding With PuTTY

    Use PuTTY, a telnet and SSH application for Windows and Linux, to forward port 4200 on the local computer to port 4243 on the remote computer.

    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.
      • Example command:
        telnet localhost 4200
      • The output of telnet should show that you can connect to the remote computer:
        username$ telnet localhost 4200
        Trying 127.0.0.1...
        Connected to localhost.
        Escape character is '^]'.

    Step 4: Configure Remote Settings From The Local Computer

    Now that you have changed network settings and started port forwarding, any changes you make on the local computer's CrashPlan app are applied only to the CrashPlan service on the remote 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: Revert The Local ui.properties File

    In order to use CrashPlan normally on the local computer, you must stop port forwarding and allow the CrashPlan app to connect to the local CrashPlan service.

    1. Close the tool you used to configure port forwarding.
    2. Open CrashPlan's ui.properties file in a plain text editor.
      • Windows: C:\Program Files\CrashPlan\conf\ui.properties
      • OS X:
        • /Applications/CrashPlan.app/Contents/Resources/Java/conf/ui.properties
        • ~/Library/Application Support/CrashPlan/ui.properties
          To view this hidden file, open the Finder, press Command-Shift-G, and paste the path. This file takes precedence over ui.properties in /Applications.
      • Linux: /usr/local/crashplan/conf/ui.properties
      • Solaris (when installed as root): /opt/sfw/crashplan/conf/ui.properties
    3. Locate the line you previously changed:
      servicePort=4200
    4. Add the # character to comment out, or disable, the line:
      #servicePort=4200
    5. Save changes to the ui.properties file.

    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.

    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
    09:24, 25 Feb 2015

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