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Code42 Support

Cold storage


Cold storage is a temporary storage state for data that is not actively being used by the Code42 environment. These archives have been deactivated but not yet completely deleted.

Proper use and configuration of cold storage can help you manage your Code42 for Enterprise archives, recover data from deactivated archives, and plan for compliance with policies and regulations that affect your organization.


The terms below are used throughout this article.

cold storage

Temporary holding state for archives after they are deactivated but before they expire and are permanently deleted. This is similar to a file in your computer’s Recycle Bin or Trash. A user who has an archive in cold storage still consumes a user subscription. Administrators can retrieve archives from cold storage throughout the cold-storage retention period.


Stop a backup and move the archive into cold storage (for eventual deletion). Subscriptions are not immediately freed by deactivation. Devices, users, and organizations can be deactivated. Deactivated users cannot sign in and cannot be added to a legal hold.

store point

A storage location in a server that can store archives. The lowest level in the Code42 storage hierarchy.

Basics of cold storage

When a user, device, or plan is deactivated, its data is not deleted; it is moved into cold storage.

The Code42 environment does not interact with data that is stored in archives in cold storage. The archives themselves can be moved between store points by the data balancing process, but the Code42 server does not read, write, or modify any data within the archives.

Intended use of cold storage

Cold storage is most often used for these reasons:

  • Preventing accidental deletion - The cold storage period gives administrators time to respond in case a user, device, or plan is deactivated accidentally.
  • Providing a deactivation grace period - When a device is deactivated, its archive is placed into cold storage. This makes it easier to replace the device without the risk of data loss.
  • Supporting your data retention policy: Depending on the requirements of your organization, you can adjust the length of the cold storage retention period.

States of archive storage

Active archive

When a device begins backing up with Code42 for Enterprise, its data is stored in an archive. Archives remain active even if the device is disconnected from the network, powered off, or otherwise separated from the storage device (usually a Code42 server or an external drive).

Archives are considered active until an administrator takes action to deactivate them.

Cold storage retention period

The amount of time archives are kept in cold storage depends on your deployment type. For deployments with an on-premises authority server with keys on premises, archives are kept in cold storage for 365 days, by default. This setting can be configured in the Code42 console.

While archives are in cold storage, they are not monitored by the automatic archive maintenance process.

After retention period

When an archive's cold storage retention period is over, it becomes an expired archive.

Effects of cold storage

Archives in cold storage remain on the store point, but they are not affected by most operations of the Code42 environment.

The lists below are not exhaustive to all server operations, but rather examples of the types of operations that do and do not affect archives in cold storage.

Server operations that affect archives in cold storage

  • Data balancing across store points
  • Countdown timer to the end of the cold storage retention period

Server operations that do not affect archives in cold storage

  • archive validation
  • archive healing
  • deduplication
  • removing files due to updated versioning settings
  • removing files due to updated file exclusion settings

Legal holds

A deactivated user's cold storage archive cannot be used in a legal hold until the user (and corresponding archive) reactivated. Further, when a deactivated user's cold storage archives are purged, that data is permanently removed and is unrecoverable.

Carefully plan retention policies so that a cold storage archives remain in place for a sufficient time period to meet your organization's legal needs. You can configure cold storage as described below to specify a specific retention period or disable it entirely.

Configure cold storage

Change cold storage duration

You can change the cold storage retention period for your entire Code42 environment or only for specific organizations.

There is no practical upper limit on the duration you can choose for cold storage, but you may find other limitations in your environment, such as available storage space on your store points.

To view or modify cold storage settings at the system-wide level of your Code42 environment:

  1. Sign in to the Code42 console.
  2. Go to Settings > Organization.
  3. If needed, enter a new value in Move deactivated archives to cold storage for.
  4. Click Save.

To view or modify cold storage settings for a specific organization:

  1. Sign in to the Code42 console.
  2. Go to Organizations and select an organization.
  3. From the action menu, select Edit.
  4. If needed, enter a new value in Move deactivated archives to cold storage for.
  5. Click Save.

You can review each organization's cold storage retention policy from Settings > Organization.

Disabled inheritance
If you disable inheritance for an organization, that organization is not affected by changes to its parent organization.

Disable cold storage

You can disable cold storage entirely by changing the cold storage retention period setting to 0 days.

Bring archives out of cold storage

You can bring archives out of cold storage so that you can again use them for backup and restore. Archives can only be brought out of cold storage if they have not yet been purged.

Version 7.0 and later

Do one of the following:

  • Activate a deactivated user
    The user's archives are moved out of cold storage and all devices associated with the user account are reactivated immediately. If the user signs in to the Code42 app on the same device that was used before deactivation, backup resumes automatically. 
  • Activate a deactivated device
    The device's archives are moved out of cold storage. When the user logs in to the device, backups resume automatically.

Version 6.8.x and earlier

  1. Activate the deactivated user who has archives you want to bring out of cold storage.
  2. In the user details screen, select Show deactivated devices.
  3. Select the deactivated device that has archives you want to bring out of cold storage.
  4. From the action menu, select Activate to activate the deactivated device.
  5. To resume backups to the archives and to allow the archives to be used for restores:
    1. From the action menu, select Edit.
    2. Click the Backup tab and select Auto-start (or Use) for the destinations with archives associated with them.

Restore files from cold storage

To restore files that are in archives in cold storage, first bring the archives out of cold storage as described above, and then restore the files from the Code42 console


(Version 6.8.x and earlier) See the following video to learn how to restore files from backup archives in cold storage. For more videos, see the Code42 University

Remove data from cold storage

To remove a backup archive from cold storage before the end of the cold storage retention period, you can purge the archive from cold storage.

Purged archives
Archives purged from cold storage are permanently removed, and associated data is unrecoverable.

For detailed information on removing data from cold storage, see Purge cold storage.

Manage space used by cold storage

Archives in cold storage continue to take up storage space on your store point. You have a number of options for dealing with archives if space becomes an issue for your Code42 environment, as described in Manage space when disk runs low.

Expired archives

After an archive has been in cold storage for the length of its retention period, the archive expires. This is a short, additional buffer between recoverable archives and permanent deletion. Expired archives are kept for 20 days (by default), then permanently deleted.

By default, expired archives remain on the store point for 20 days, but this setting can be configured in Settings > Server (on-premises deployments only).

Expired archives are no longer managed by the Code42 environment. This means that an expired archive consumes space on the store point's disk, but this space is not reported by the Code42 server in disk use reports. Also, an expired archive does not consume a subscription.

After the expired cold storage archives period, archives are deleted (or securely deleted, if that option is enabled). After an archive is deleted, the data is not recoverable.

Archive names after expiration

When a backup archive expires, it is renamed on the store point's file system with the following format:
For example, an archive with the GUID 123456789012345678 would appear on the store point's file system as 123456789012345678.EXPIRED.2013-09-07_020832 after it expired. That archive would not appear at all in the Code42 console, because expired archives are no longer managed by the Code42 environment.

Reactivate an expired archive

To reactivate a device whose archive has expired, but not yet deleted:

  1. Activate the device.
  2. Change the name of the archive on the file system to its GUID, without the additional text appended when the archive expired.
    See Archive names after expiration for details.
  3. Seed the expired archive to your on-premises environment.

Simply reactivating a deactivated device does not automatically reassociate an expired archive to the device.

Learn more: Code42 training video

This 5-minute video describes:

  • What cold storage is
  • How it affects license consumption
  • How long archives remain in cold storage
  • How to move backup archives into and out of cold storage

For a wide-selection of educational videos, visit the Code42 University.

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