Now that you have the CrashPlan app up and running, it's time to make a few decisions about what files you want CrashPlan to protect. We'll take a look at the backup file selection CrashPlan recommends for you, and review a few guidelines for making changes to this selection.
Your backup file selection
The files you protect are known as your backup file selection. You can see the top-level folders included in your backup file selection from the Files section on the Backup tab of the CrashPlan app.
When you first open the CrashPlan app, your entire user folder is included in your backup file selection (typically this is your name, or whatever you call your computer account). The total number and size of the files selected is calculated for you here.
Backing up your user folder works great for many users because it typically includes the majority of your personal files (for example, the default folders for your pictures, music, documents, and downloads).
It's a good idea to familiarize yourself with the contents of this folder, and decide whether or not you want to make changes to your backup file selection. But first, let's go over a few simple guidelines for deciding what (and what not) to back up.
Decide what to back up
CrashPlan doesn't limit the types of files you can add to your backup selection, but it's only designed to back up your personal files.
Chances are, you know better than anyone else what files to back up because they're the files you would miss the most if something were to happen to them. This includes folders that contain:
In other words, you want to back up the files you create and interact with on a regular basis. For more details, see What should you back up?
It can be tempting to include all of your computer's folders in your backup file selection. However, this can actually do more harm than good. You should avoid including folders that contain:
- System files: These are files that your computer needs to run properly. These files change frequently so CrashPlan puts a lot of effort into backing them up when they're included.
- Application and program files: These are files that your applications need in order to run. They can also change frequently, particularly when the application is in use.
- Your backup archives: It is not possible to back up a CrashPlan backup archive (i.e., the file that contains your compressed and encrypted backup information).
When you include system and application files in your selection, it takes CrashPlan longer to back up the personal files that mean the most to you. It's truly wasted effort because CrashPlan isn't designed to help you recover your operating system or applications.
The best way to avoid backing up system and application files is to back up folders you're familiar with—like Documents, Music, Downloads, Desktop, and any other folders where you store personal files.
Add and remove folders from your backup file selection
You can add or remove folders from your backup file selection by clicking the Change button on the Backup tab.
CrashPlan backs up the contents of every folder selected with a check mark. To change your backup selection, simply select the folders you want to back up, and deselect the ones you don't. Just be careful – if you deselect a folder after it has backed up, it will be permanently removed from your backup archive.
Have all of those important files selected? Great! Click Next below to learn about optimal settings for speeding up your first backup.