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Retain and restore deleted files

Applies to:
  • CrashPlan for Small Business
  • CrashPlan PROe

Overview

With CrashPlan's default retention settings, deleted files are never removed from your backup archive. The deleted file protection feature allows you to restore previously backed up files that are no longer on your computer—no matter how long it has been since they were removed from your computer.

This article explains retention settings as well as how to use the deleted files restore feature.

Default retention settings for deleted files

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

Deleted files retention for ransomware
Some ransomware programs change file extensions, causing the CrashPlan app to think the original files were deleted. This results in the original files being removed at the time set by the Remove Deleted Files value in the Frequency and Versions settings. Therefore, leave Remove Deleted Files at the default setting of Never to prevent removal of files in the event of a ransomware attack.

To learn how to verify or change your deleted file retention setting, see our article on specifying version settings.

Restore deleted files

You can restore deleted files from the CrashPlan app or CrashPlan web app.

CrashPlan app

From the CrashPlan app, go to Restore and select Show deleted files to display or search deleted files. For more information on your restore options, see restoring files from the CrashPlan app.

Display Deleted Files

Once you enable Show deleted files, your deleted files appear in the file tree.

Deleted files icon

Tip: restore from an earlier date
Alternatively, if you know the date that the files were deleted, you can view your entire backup "as of" a date prior to deleting the files. From the Restore tab, click most recent to open a calendar and select a previous date. The file tree will refresh with the files that were backed up as of that date, including any files that have since been deleted.

CrashPlan web app

From the CrashPlan web app, select Display deleted files from the restore tree to display or search deleted files. For more information on your restore options, see restoring files from the CrashPlan web app.

Web Display Deleted Files

Tip: restore from an earlier date
Alternatively, if you know the date that the files were deleted, you can view your entire backup "as of" a date prior to deleting the files. From the Restore files as of calendar, select a previous date. The file tree will refresh with the files that were backed up as of that date, including any files that have since been deleted.

Can I use CrashPlan to archive files deleted from my computer?

While deleted files are never removed from your archive by default, we do not recommend using CrashPlan as a data archive service. There are several ways in which this can lead to inadvertent data loss:

  • If you deselect a folder from your backup file selection, any deleted files that were stored there are also removed from your archive.
  • Changing your deleted files retention setting could remove deleted files from your archive.

Since files deleted from your computer have less visibility, it increases the possibility that changing your backup file selection or settings could result in accidental data loss. We always recommend keeping a copy of your files on the source computer or drive. To learn more about the differences between CrashPlan and online storage services, see our article on comparing cloud backup and cloud storage.

Tip: archive files on external drives
If you have access to an external drive, you can move files you no longer want on your computer to the drive, then back up the drive with CrashPlan. Even if you disconnect the external drive, CrashPlan will never remove the drive's files from your backup archive as long as you use the default setting to never remove deleted files and you keep the drive in your backup file selection.
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