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This article applies to Code42 for Enterprise version 4.

Code42 Support

How CrashPlan can help when upgrading your operating system

This article applies to Code42 for Enterprise version 4.


Although upgrading your operating system is often simple, it can still be an intimidating task. With CrashPlan, your personal files are safe even if the unexpected happens. This article explains how CrashPlan can help before and after an operating system upgrade.


If you are upgrading to a new version of your existing operating system, you can often perform an in-place upgrade, in which you don’t have to remove your existing operating system prior to installing the new operating system. Typically, your personal files, as well as all compatible applications, are preserved when your perform an in-place upgrade.

Alternatively, you may prefer, or be required, to do a clean install, in which case you must remove your existing operating system (including all personal files), prior to installing the new operating system. For example, if you are upgrading from Windows XP to Windows 7 or Windows 8, you must perform a clean install.

Before upgrading your operating system

Whether you are performing an in-place upgrade or a clean install, ensuring that you have a complete backup is the most important action you can take to prior to upgrading your operating system.

If you are planning an in-place upgrade, having a complete backup is a precautionary measure — your personal files should not be impacted by the upgrade. However, if you are planning a clean install, you will need to transfer your personal files to the reformatted computer by restoring them with CrashPlan, or by using an alternate method (Time Machine backup, Windows Easy Transfer, copying the files). When doing a clean install, it is imperative to have all your personal files backed up first.

Confirm your backup file selection

You can confirm that you are backing up all of the personal files that are important to you from the Backup tab of the CrashPlan app.

Click Change to view your file selection. A check mark File:CrashPlan/Latest/Configuring/Changing_The_File_Selection/clipboard_1377642520002.png indicates that a folder and all of its subfolders are selected for backup. Whereas, a solid square File:CrashPlan/Latest/Restoring/How_CrashPlan_Can_Help_When_Upgrading_Your_Operating_System/WindowsSelected.png (Windows), or a minus signFile:CrashPlan/Latest/Configuring/Changing_The_File_Selection/clipboard_1377642502179.png (OS X), indicates that a subfolder within this folder is selected for backup and is being monitored for changes.

Confirm you file selection

Are your files protected?
If you are unsure what you should backup, you can follow these simple guidelines. If you have questions about backing up files for specific applications, such as iPhoto and Aperture or Microsoft Outlook, our Backup guide has a number of tutorials about backing up files for various applications.

Confirm your backup is complete

Once you are confident that you are backing up all of your important files, confirm that your backup is complete on at least one destination (e.g., CrashPlan Central). If you are performing a clean installation, we recommend that you also have a complete backup on a local destination, like an external drive. When you restore from a local destination, your files are restored faster and you conserve bandwidth.

You can view your backup status from the CrashPlan app. Click the info icon File:CrashPlan/Latest/Restoring/How_CrashPlan_Can_Help_When_Upgrading_Your_Operating_System/info.png below a destination to expand details about the status of your backup. If there are no files in your To Do list, then you know your backup is complete. If there are files in your To Do list, you can start a backup manually by clicking the play icon File:CrashPlan/Latest/Restoring/How_CrashPlan_Can_Help_When_Upgrading_Your_Operating_System/play.png for the destination.

If CrashPlan appears to be unable to back up one or more files, follow our troubleshooting article to diagnose and resolve the issue.

After upgrading your operating system

In-place upgrade

If you completed an in-place upgrade, your personal files should be unaffected by the upgrade. Additionally, all of your settings for the CrashPlan app should be preserved.

Clean install

If you upgraded by performing a clean install, then you must download and install the CrashPlan app, then restore your files. After all of your files are restored, you can adopt your previous computer's backup. This way, you don't have to re-upload your backed up files, and all of your CrashPlan app settings are applied to your computer automatically.

Is my backup starting over?

After an operating system upgrade or an adoption, the CrashPlan app will launch a file verification scan to compare the contents of your backup file selection against your existing backup archive. It may look like your files are backing up again, and the estimated time to complete may seem inordinately long.

However, CrashPlan will only back up what has changed (e.g., folder paths for moved files, new files), and it will use data de-duplication to identify files that are already backed up. This is a normal part of CrashPlan's operation, but if you are concerned, there are several ways to confirm that your backup isn't starting over.