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Specify version settings

Applies to:
  • CrashPlan PRO
  • CrashPlan PROe


CrashPlan tracks multiple versions of each file as it backs up changes over time. Version snapshots can be restored from an archive to revert to the file's previous state. This tutorial includes instructions for changing your version retention settings.

How it works

In CrashPlan, version retention means keeping more of the recent versions of your backed up files and less of the older ones. Subscribers of CrashPlan for Home have the option to change the default version settings, which includes the ability to keep all versions of all files forever.

Specifying the versions to retain involves:

  • Specifying versions to retain for each interval
  • Pruning unnecessary files from the backup archive (optional)
  • Specifying when CrashPlan compacts the backup archive

Backup frequency

CrashPlan backs up new changes to files as often as your Backup Frequency settings allow. CrashPlan watches the filesystem in real-time (unless that feature is turned off), and when a file changes it schedules the next backup of that file based on the frequency settings (i.e. if the backup frequency is set to the default 15 minutes, once a file changes CrashPlan will schedule a backup to happen 15 minutes later).

CrashPlan retains the newest version in several intervals:

  • the last week
  • the last 90 days
  • the last year
  • previous years

CrashPlan for Home without a subscription
Backup frequency is limited to once every 24 hours for CrashPlan Free users. Upgrade to a CrashPlan for Home subscription for more flexibility.

Version retention

CrashPlan selectively prunes out older file versions during the regular archive maintenance process. This decreases the amount of data CrashPlan tracks as the archive grows and decreases memory usage in the CrashPlan app (i.e. two months from now, you may not need to restore a file from 8:45AM when the hourly snapshot will do).

We do not recommend increasing the frequency or versions settings to more than the default settings. An increase in these settings requires CrashPlan to use more system resources to maintain your backup. Even if you have a small file selection, increasing the version retention can cause a delay in backing up your files due to file monitoring.

If you have a large file selection, consider changing your settings to back up less frequently or increasing the memory allocated to the CrashPlan app.

You can tell CrashPlan to only retain a single version of older files. This may be useful if you have large files that change frequently, but for which older versions provide little value. For example:
  • a database
  • Photoshop project file
  • iMovie project file
  • ProTools project file
To only retain a single version of a file, set your retention settings to:
  • Last week: every week
  • Last 90 days: never
  • Previous years: never
Please note that your retention settings apply to every file backed up to particular destination. In other words, if you are backing up to CrashPlan Central, your version retention settings apply to every file backing up to CrashPlan Central regardless of the backup set to which a file belongs.

Deleted file retention

If you delete a file from your computer that was previously backed up, CrashPlan keeps it in the archive for as long as indicated in the deleted files retention setting. CrashPlan never removes deleted files from the archive by default. Learn more about retaining and restoring deleted files.

Specify versions to retain from the CrashPlan app

You can change your version retention settings from Settings > Backup using the steps below.


Settings > Backup > Frequency And Versions

  1. Choose Settings.
  2. Click Backup.
    In CrashPlan for Home you can adjust the backup frequency for each backup set on the Backup Sets tab.
  3. Click Frequency and versions > Configure…
  4. In the Backup Frequency and Versioning Settings dialog, move the slider to a new backup frequency.
  5. Click Ok.
  6. Click Save.

Specify versions to retain from the CrashPlan web app

This feature is available to subscribers of CrashPlan for Home.


  1. Sign in to the CrashPlan web app.
  2. Click Computers.
  3. Click the computer you want to change.
  4. Click Modify Settings.
  5. From the Outbound Backup Settings section, change the values to a new backup frequency for versions to keep per day, week, last 90 days, and/or year as appropriate.
  6. Click Save.

Remove unwanted versions immediately


  1. From the CrashPlan app, go to Destinations.
  2. Choose the destination type (e.g., Friends, Computers, Folders, Cloud).
  3. Select the destination that contains the versions you want to remove.
  4. Click Compact.
    CrashPlan sends a request to that destination to immediately remove unwanted versions from the backup archive.


The following example displays the default retention settings for each interval:

Version Retention Example

In this example, CrashPlan retains the most recent file backed up each day in the last week, plus the most recent file backed up each day for the last 90 ninety days (that is, in addition to last weeks' files), plus one version per week for the last year, plus one version per month for the years prior to last year.

In another example, if you choose to retain two versions per week CrashPlan will retain the most recent version backed up at the end of the week, plus the most recent version backed up 3 and a half days earlier, in essence splitting the difference.