Using the ITS CrashPlan backup service for graduate students and post-docs in Stanford Earth.

Last revision May 11, 2015

The School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences has purchased access to the University Information Technology Services cloud-based CrashPlan Pro backup service to provide free computer backups to all graduate students and post-docs in all departments and programs in Stanford Earth. This is a "self-service" program. You will follow the instructions listed here to install the CrashPlan Pro software and perform your own file restorations when needed.

Faculty and staff in Stanford Earth normally use the School's own in-house CrashPlan backup service. That page also describes other options for data backup.

After doing the initial full backup, the CrashPlan Pro software continuously checks for new or changed documents and copies them to the cloud backup within a couple of hours of creation, as long as you have a network connection anywhere in the world. This service only backs up your documents, not your operating system or applications, which can be easily re-installed.

Your data is encrypted with a unique key tied to your SUNet ID before it is sent to the cloud backup. Only you (and the system administrators) can access the data backups.

Information Technology Services has created a website to describe how the CrashPlan service works. You should check that website first to answer your questions.

Read these limitations and restrictions before you try to install the CrashPlan service!

  • This service only works while you are associated with Stanford University. You will login with your SUNet ID to install the software or perform file restoration from the backups. When you leave Stanford or your SUNet ID becomes inactive, your account on the server will be deactivated and your backup archives deleted. The archives cannot be transferred to another server or to the commercial cloud CrashPlan service. If you want to keep using CrashPlan after you leave Stanford, you can uninstall the Stanford client and sign up for the CrashPlan online commercial service, but you will have to start your backup archive all over again.

  • The installers provided here are for graduate students and post-docs in Stanford Earth only! Don't share them with your friends. These installers connect you to the Earth Sciences organization within the ITS service. It will be monitored. Any non-Stanford Earth connection will be immediately de-activated.

  • Each person may install the software on up to four computers that run Microsoft Windows (version 7 or 8), Apple Mac OS X (version 10.6 or later), or Desktop Linux (kernel version 2.6.13 or later). These computers can be Stanford owned or personally-owned, as long as they are used in some way for your learning or research. Virtual machine files are excluded from backup by the host system. If you have a virtual machine (for example, VMware Fusion Windows VM on Mac OS X), install the appropriate CrashPlan Pro client on the native operating system and then separately inside the virtual machine.

  • Do not install this CrashPlan Pro client on a standard desktop PC issued by the Energy Resources Engineering department, unless you have substantial files or data that do not fit on your ERE server disk allocation. Your ERE server disk allocation is already fully backed up.

  • The CrashPlan Pro client software immediately starts a full backup of all data files and documents on your computer. This can take a long time: from many hours to several weeks, depending on how much data you have and how fast is your network connection. You are not really protected until this initial backup is complete. During this initial backup period, try to leave your computer turned on and connected to a fast network, such as the wired ethernet network in your Stanford Earth office or on-campus residence. The wireless network on campus is much slower. If you are off campus, connect to the wired ethernet port on your cable modem. After this initial backup, the program uses only minor network resources as it backs up only new or changed files in small batches.

    Of course, this initial backup will take much longer if your computer keeps going to sleep! Check your energy saver settings. If you are using Stanford's "BigFix power management" settings to save energy, check this website for instructions to use the "yellow" setting, which will let your monitor sleep but keep the computer running.

  • Don't use a cellular "tethered" network connection from your smart phone or tablet to do your backups! You will certainly go over your montly data allowance and face a large usage charge. Use these CrashPlan network configuration instructions to exclude your cellular "tethered" wireless network.

  • This service provides unlimited data backup! However, if you have more than 1,000 gigabytes of data or more than a million files, follow these ITS instructions to increase the memory allocation so the application can work efficiently.

  • After you have installed the CrashPlan Pro client, you can monitor the progress of your backups yourself! Connect to this web page and select the "Stanford Single Sign-on" option to login with your SUNet ID:

  • Sometimes the CrashPlan Pro backup process on your computer can get stuck. You can restart it yourself by following these instructions.

Click the Continue button below to answer a brief usage questionnaire and then go to the download page to get the CrashPlan Pro software installers. The questionnaire and download page are restricted to Stanford Earth graduate students and post-docs only; you have to login with your SUNet ID. Others will be denied access. If you are a graduate student or post-doc in a Stanford Earth department or program but are denied access to the download page, please ask your department administrator to verify that you are a member of your department's graduate student or post-doc workgroup.

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