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    Home > CrashPlan > Latest > Backup > Backing Up To An External Drive

    Backing Up To An External Drive

    Applies to:
    • CrashPlan for Home
    • CrashPlan PRO
    • CrashPlan PROe


    Backing up to a drive connected to your computer is a great addition to any backup plan. Because the drive is directly connected to your computer, backing up and restoring from the drive is always faster than using online destinations. This tutorial provides step-by-step instructions for backing up files to an external drive.


    • Speed: While backing up and restoring over the Internet can take some time, backing up to an external drive is much faster. This means that if your computer fails, you can restore the important files that you need in a fraction of the time.
    • AccessibilitySince you are backing up to a drive that you own, the option to restore your files is always within reach.

    Folder And Computer Destinations
    You cannot set a backup archive size limit for folder and computer destinations with the CrashPlan app. Make sure your destination folder, drive, or computer has enough space for your backup. If you run out of space at the destination, you can move the archive to a new location.


    Follow these instructions if you would like to back up the files on your computer to a folder on your computer or external drive.

    1. Open the CrashPlan app and go to Destinations > Folders
    2. Choose Select

    Destinations > Folders

    1. Select the device or folder to which you want to back up and click Ok
      The new destination appears in the list of available folders

    Select Directory

    1. Select the destination folder to which you want to back up
    2. Click Start Backup
      CrashPlan begins backing up your file selection to the external drive.

    Start backup

    What happens if I disconnect my drive?

    You can disconnect external drives at any time, and for any length of time—CrashPlan won't delete the files. When you reconnect the drive, CrashPlan resumes backup from where it left off. If you reconnect the drive and CrashPlan doesn't recognize it immediately, it is likely because the drive letter or name changed. See the troubleshooting tips below to correct the issue.

    What happens if my drive becomes full?

    If a drive becomes too full for CrashPlan to continue backing up to it, the CrashPlan app reports Out of space at destination. To continue backing up, you can either move the backup archive to a larger drive, or reduce the size of the archive. Review our troubleshooting article for full details.

    Best Practices (Windows)

    When you connect an external drive to a Windows computer, the operating system automatically assigns the next available letter in the alphabet. If the letter changes when you reconnect a drive you've been using for backup, CrashPlan won't recognize the drive. Consequently, we recommend assigning a static drive letter to your external drive. 

    Troubleshooting Tips

    CrashPlan App Reports Drive As "Missing" Or "Destination Unavailable"

    This issue occurs when the letter or name assigned to the drive by your operating system changes. It typically occurs after a drive is disconnected, then reconnected. CrashPlan uses absolute paths when backing up folders. So if the name of a drive changes, CrashPlan doesn't recognize it and lists the drive as "Missing" or "Destination Unavailable". You can correct the issue by renaming the drive to match the original drive letter or name. 

    External Drive Stops Backing Up (Mac)

    If an external drive that is backing up or serving as a backup destination stops working on a Mac, it is likely because the drive didn't cleanly unmount (e.g., due to a power outage, disconnected without ejecting, etc.). When this happens, the drive can leave behind a "ghost" folder in /Volumes, even though the drive is no longer mounted. When the drive re-mounts, your Mac sees that the folder name for the drive is taken, so it appends a “1” to the drive name. However, CrashPlan is looking for the folder with the original name, which is no longer valid. Use our troubleshooting guide to diagnose and correct the issue.

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    Last modified
    09:26, 18 Feb 2015



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