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Restore from an external drive after computer upgrade (PRO)

Applies to:
  • CrashPlan for Small Business (Mac only)


If you are using CrashPlan for Small Business (previously CrashPlan PRO) and you recently replaced your computer, reformatted your hard drive, or upgraded your operating system, and you were previously backing up to an external drive destination, there are a few simple steps you need to take before you can restore files from the external drive.

This tutorial walks you through the steps needed to restore files from that external drive.


This article applies when all of these conditions are present:

  • You are using CrashPlan for Small Business
  • You have backed up to an external drive
  • You recently replaced your computer, reformatted your hard drive, or upgraded your operating system

Before you begin

Connect the external drive containing your backup archive to your new computer.

Step 1: Optimize your file retention settings

You must adopt your previous computer before you can restore files from an external drive, as described in Step 2 below.

However, to prevent your files from being removed during archive maintenance, you should first optimize your file retention settings. Because your files don’t yet reside on the new or reformatted computer, they will be marked as “missing” when CrashPlan scans for the files in your backup archive, and they will be subject to your deleted files retention settings. By ensuring that your file retention settings are set to never remove deleted files, you can ensure that no files will be removed from your archive.

  1. Sign in to the administration console.
  2. Select Devices and click the name of the original computer.
  3. Click the action menu in the upper-right corner and select Edit.
  4. Click the Backup tab.
  5. From the Frequency and Versions area, verify that the Remove deleted files setting is set to Never, and if it's not, update it.

Optimize retention

  1. Click Save if you modified your settings.

You can now proceed with adopting your previous computer without worrying about files being removed from your backup archive. Once you've adopted, you can restore your files from the external hard drive.

Step 2: Adopt your previous computer

  1. Download and install the CrashPlan app.
  2. Sign in with your username and password.
  3. Adopt the original computer.
  4. Wait for Synchronization to complete.
    The larger the size of the archive, the longer amount of time this process can take.


Step 3: Restore files from your external drive

The steps below describe how to restore the folders within your original user folder to a new or reformatted computer. If you have files backed up outside of your user folder, we recommend restoring those separately. You can use the same general approach described in this article, but choose a restore location that makes sense for the files. If you have any questions, see our general article on restoring from the CrashPlan app.

  1. Open the CrashPlan app and go to Restore.
  2. From the backup destination list, choose the external drive that contains your backup.
  3. Click Most Recent to open the date and time selection window.PRO Restore
  4. Select a date and time prior to replacing your computer or drive.

Restore from prior date

  1. Select the folders within your user folder (e.g., Desktop, Document, Music).
  2. (Mac and Linux only) Click original permissions to update the description to current permissions.
  3. Change the location of where the files are restored by clicking Desktop, then original location. The location should be set to a folder.
  4. Change the folder by clicking on the default (Desktop).
    After replacing a computer or drive, we recommend restoring files to your new user folder (typically, this is your name).
  5. Click the default setting "rename any existing files" to update it to "overwrite any existing files".
Rename versus overwrite existing files
This tutorial assumes that your new computer doesn't contain updated files that could be lost by overwriting. If this is not the case, ensure that the updated files have a unique name to avoid losing your updates.
  1. Click Restore.

Restore tips
  • It is safe to close the CrashPlan app while the files restore in the background.
  • If you are restoring a large amount of data, consider optimizing your computer settings to prevent disruptions.
  • Alternatively, if you don't want to restore all of the files at once, you can shut down or put your computer to sleep, and the restore will resume where it left off when it is powered on again.
  • If you receive errors when restoring, refer to our troubleshooting guide.

Under the hood

When you adopt a computer, CrashPlan associates your new computer with all of your previous CrashPlan information, including your settings, your external destinations, and your backup archives. Typically we recommend restoring your files before adopting. However, when you want to restore from an external drive, you need to adopt first to reacquaint CrashPlan with the backup archive on your external drive.

Since you haven't moved your files the new computer yet, CrashPlan scans for the files and doesn't find them. Consequently, those files are marked as deleted. By default, CrashPlan never removes deleted files. Nonetheless, we still recommend verifying your retention settings to ensure that your deleted files won't be removed after adopting.