How to Backup to Another Computer Using CrashPlan

In this tutorial I will cover how to backup to another computer you own or to a friends using CrahshPlan.

Backing Up To Another Computer You Own (on-site)

You can use other computers you own to create a convenient on-site or even off-site backup using the internet.

Backing up to other computers is always free, with or without a subscription to CrashPlan for Home.

Note: All destinations are vulnerable to disasters that affect the destinations’ physical locations, such as a fire, earthquake, theft or damage. We recommend backing up to both on-site and off-site destinations for maximum backup protection. Backups and restores between computers rely on an Internet connection to transfer files. Depending on the size of your file selection, your initial backup can take a while if you rely solely on an Internet connection. You can reduce the time required to back up by “seeding” your backup locally.


  • Install CrashPlan on two or more computers.
  • Sign in to the CrashPlan app on both computers using your account credentials (is important to sign with the same account on both computers).

Start Backup

  • From the CrashPlan app on the computer you want to back up go to Destinations on the left panel and then the Computers tab.
  • Select the computer to be used as the backup destination from the list of your computers.
  • Click Start Backup.

Note: If you would like both computers to back up to each other, repeat the above procedure from your other computer too.

Limit Backup Archive Size (Optional)

By default, CrashPlan uses as much storage space as needed for the archive. To limit the amount of storage a computer on your own account can use:

  • On the destination computer, navigate to Backup\Inbound.
  • Click the name of your incoming computer (the incoming backup details display).
  • From Allotted space, select GB and enter a value between 1 and 999 (CrashPlan limits the archive size to the specified value).

Backing Up To A Friend’s Computer (off-site)

This section explains how to back up to a friend’s computer. Backing up to a friend gives you the advantage of off-site protection, and it’s free.

Note: Your friend’s computer needs to be powered on when you want to back up or restore files. Because backing up and restoring takes place over the Internet, the initial backup and a complete restore could take a while. You can reduce the time required to back up by “seeding” your backup locally or connect the two computers on the same network. Your friend is not able to see the files you have backed up. Even though the backup data is stored on your friend’s computer, it is encrypted and can only be accessed when you sign in with your account information. Likewise, you are not able to see your friend’s files.

Invite A Friend To Back Up

  • Open the CrashPlan app.
  • Go to Friends.
  • Click Invite (this opens your default web browser and takes you to My Account).
  • In the text box, type your friend’s email address.
  • Click Add.
  • From Friendly Backup, choose the computer where you’d like your friend to back up.
  • Click Confirm and Send Invitation to send an email to your friend.

Your friend will receive an email message that explains what CrashPlan is and how to back up to each other. The message also will include a backup code so your friend can back up to the computer you have chosen.

Enter Backup Code

  • Open the CrashPlan app and go to Destinations\Friends
  • In the Is Your Friend Already Running CrashPlan section, enter your friend’s Backup Code.
  • Click Start Backup.

Changing Where Backup Data Is Stored

If you are adding storage that you would like to dedicate to your backup archives, you can tell CrashPlan to store the backup archive in a new location. This tutorial explains how to manage your location settings.

There are two different settings that control where to store your backup archives. You can specify:

  • A global default setting determines where backup data from new sources is stored (affects only new sources)
  • A computer-specific setting allows you to change the location of an existing backup archive for existing computers and for existing friends’ computers.

Change The Global Default Location

When backing up to another computer, or that computer backs up to you, the default location of the archive directory varies by operating system:

  • Windows Vista, 7, 8, Server 2008 and 2012: C:\ProgramData\CrashPlan\backupArchives (to view this hidden folder, open Windows Explorer and paste the path in the address bar).
  • Windows XP and Server 2003: C:\Program Files\CrashPlan\backupArchives
  • OS X: /Library/Application Support/CrashPlan/BackupArchives
  • Linux: /usr/local/var/crashplan/
  • Solaris: /opt/sfw/crashplan/backupArchives/

Changing the default backup location directs any new, incoming computers’ data to the specified location. Changing this setting does not affect the backup archive for any existing sources.


  • Click Settings\General.
  • Click Inbound backup from other computers\Configure.
  • Click the Default backup archive location folder icon.
  • Navigate to the directory where you want backups stored.
  • Click OK after you have selected the new directory.
  • Click OK to close Inbound Backup Settings.
  • Click Save.

Change Friend’s Default Location

On the Friends tab, you can change where your friends’ computers store backup data. Changing this setting affects backup data on new, incoming computers for the friend you specify and does not affect backup data for existing sources.


  • Click Friends.
  • Select the friend whose backup location you want to change (this part of the screen does not appear unless the “Allow this friend to back up to this computer” check box is checked).
  • Click the Default location icon.
  • Navigate to the folder.
  • Click OK.
  • Click Save.

Change Existing Locations

You can also change where any existing source computers store backup data. When you change this setting to redirect the backup location, CrashPlan moves the entire backup archive so that all the archived data is in one place.

You must do this for each computer for which you’d like to move the backup archive to another location.

  • Go to Backup\Inbound.
  • Click the source computer’s name.
  • Under Location, click the folder icon to open the directory window.
  • Navigate to the new location and click OK (CrashPlan begins moving the archive to the selected location and movement progress is displayed).
  • When the move has completed, verify that the archive has been removed from the previous location.

If you are moving an archive between drives, or you are using certain versions of Windows or Linux, the archive may be copied, instead of moved, to the new location. If the archive is still present at the old location after the move has completed, it is safe to delete the archive from the old location.

Seeding To A Destination To Speed Up Initial Backup

If you have a large amount of data to back up to a off-site computer (such as another computer you own, or a friend’s computer), you can save time and bandwidth by “seeding” your initial backup. Start the backup locally (which is much faster than backing up over the Internet), and then perform subsequent backups to the off-site location. You could either connect the two computers on the same network or have a detachable drive that you can use to transport your backup between computers to use this process.

Create The Archive

  • From the CrashPlan app on the source computer, choose Destinations\Folders.
  • Select a location to which you want to back up. Make sure you chose a location (i.e. drive) that you can transport or copy to the off-site destination.
  • Click Start Backup (CrashPlan creates your backup archive).

Transport The Archive

It is important that you move / copy the entire folder that represents a computer’s backup archives (the computer ID folder).

After backup is completed, follow these steps on the source computer.

  • On the Backup tab, click the pause icon at the right end of the backup status bar.
    • If there is no backup in progress, the button looks like a right-pointing arrow.
    • Clicking pause prevents the backup from restarting before the seeding process is complete.
  • If your folder is on an attached drive (i.e., USB, firewire, network), eject or unmount the drive.
  • Bring (or copy) your archive over to the destination computer (such as another computer you own, or a friend’s computer).

Attach The Archive At The Off-site Destination

  • Connect the drive containing the archive to the destination computer.
  • Open the CrashPlan app and go to Destinations\Folders.
  • Choose Select.
  • Navigate to the archive you’d like to attach (Look for the folder that matches the source computer’s ID: something like 523028966117224966).
  • Click OK.

Resume Backup

  • On the source computer on the Backup tab, click the play Start Backup Icon button for the off-site destination.

Remove The Folder Destination

After confirming that backup resumed, the original folder destination is no longer required to continue backing up.

To remove the folder destination:

  • From the CrashPlan app on the source computer, go to Destinations\Folders.
  • Select the name of the folder destination created.
  • Click Delete to remove the folder destination (A warning displays).
  • Check I understand.
  • Click Ok.

Note: Your off-site Backup is safe. Removing the folder destination will remove the backup from the folder on an attached drive (i.e., USB, firewire, network). However, performing these steps will not remove the backup from the off-site destination.

Considerations When Seeding On Different Operating Systems

If the source computer uses a different operating system than the destination computer (e.g., from Windows to Mac), make sure both computers can read and write to the drive that holds your seeded archive. If you’re working with a brand new external drive, in most cases, you don’t need to do anything special prior to seeding; most external drives from the factory can be accessed by Mac, Windows, and Linux.

  • Choose a file system that will work with both the source and destination computer’s operating systems.
  • Understand how file system limitations might affect your backup. For example, FAT 32 volumes are limited to 2 TB, but if your drive is smaller than that, this limitation will not be an issue.
  • CrashPlan stores backup data in files of up to 4 GB.

Please leave your comments below with your thoughts or alternative suggestions.


Experienced IT Consultant working and living in the UK. In early years he was born and raised up in Greece and been to the UK since studies. He is passionate with technology, gadgets and computers, he really likes the internet and IT in general.

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