Introduction to CrashPlan (Code42)
CrashPlan has been selected by the University as the recommended tool for securing backups of university data on personal, single-user computers like your desktop and laptop at work and at home. It is a GUI-based backup product to the Cloud that replaces the existing Spectrum Protect backup solution with many benefits including frequent automated backups in the background, unlimited storage and multiple file versioning allowing point-in-time restores.
The CrashPlan Cloud backup service is best suited to backing up single-user machines, or machines where a single user can take ownership of the backups (the HFS Spectrum Protect Backup Service may offer an alternative solution, subject to its own qualifying criteria).
Note that CrashPlan is a product developed by the company Code42. While originally known as CrashPlan it was later rebranded as Code42. However CrashPlan is now a separate company and the name is returning to CrashPlan. For the moment both CrashPlan and Code42 are in use with Code42 being more prominent on the software. Both refer to the same product.
CrashPlan is fully supported by the vendor on reasonably recent versions of Windows, macOS, Ubuntu and Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Note however that there is a difference between fully supported and whether it works. In practice CrashPlan will continue to work, at least for a while, on older operating systems when they fall out of support although you may not get upgraded to the latest version of the software, and will work on many more distributions of Linux. You should also note that new operating system releases are unlikely to be supported immediately, though they often are within only a month or so. If you are considering upgrading your operating system we suggest you check here whether it is yet supported.
CrashPlan publish an official list of supported operating systems which may be more up to date or detailed than the information below so do consult it.
Windows 11, 10 and 8.1 are supported while the operating systems are supported by Microsoft. This means if you are more than a couple of years out of date in updates neither Windows nor CrashPlan will be supported though Code42 CrashPlan may well continue to work. Note that Windows 8.1 support ends in January 2023 so we wouldn't recommend using Code42 CrashPlan on Windows 8.1 unless you expect to move to Windows 10 or 11 by then. CrashPlan is a desktop/laptop backup product so Windows Server versions are not supported.
Code42 CrashPlan is supported on both Intel and Apple Silicon processors on systems running currently supported versions of macOS. Currently this is Monterey, Big Sur and Catalina. Ventura will be supported shortly.
CrashPlan is known to still work on Catalina, Mojave and High Sierra and the last supported version can be installed on these using the HFS Hub
As always Linux is more complicated due to the enormous number and variety of distributions some of which are more similar to each other than others. In common with other vendors (including IBM with Spectrum Protect) CrashPlan officially support only certain 64-bit distributions which are Ubuntu long term support versions and Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), both of these for still supported versions of the distribution. Currently this is Ubuntu 18.04, 20.04 and 22.04 and RHEL 7.9 and 8.5 (support for RHEL 9 is expected shortly). As regards other distributions:
- Distributions that are RHEL clones such as Centos, AlmaLinux, Rocky Linux, are likely to work
- Distributions based on Ubuntu such as Linux Mint, Zorin OS, Elementary OS are likely to work
- We have found that it also works on various other distributions based on Debian or RPM packaging
If CrashPlan support is a priority for you you may wish to take that into account in your choice of distribution. If you find that Code42 CrashPlan will not work on your choice of distribution you may have better luck with Spectrum Protect. Although it has a similar limited official support list we find that in practice it does work on a wide range of newer and older distributions.
Installing the HFS Code42 Cloud Backup App
Installation of the Code42 CrashPlan app is a simple two-stage process: First you download the HFS Hub and install that. This then manages the installation and configuration of the Code42 backup app. So, first step is to download the HFS Hub via the appropriate link below (Apple users click the Apple logo in the top left of your screen and choose 'About this Mac' to find out if your Mac has an Intel or Apple chip):
HFS Hub for Windows
HFS Hub for Mac (Intel)
HFS Hub for Mac (Apple Silicon)
HFS Hub for Linux (Ubuntu, Debian etc.)
HFS Hub for Linux (Fedora, OpenSUSE, Centos 8 etc.)
HFS Hub for Linux (Centos 7)
Now run or open the downloaded file.
Windows and Mac users will see a setup screen. Choose the button to cause the HFS Hub to be installed. Once done, the HFS Hub will run and display the following screen, reporting any account name your machine has with the HFS Spectrum Protect Backup Service and an option to install Code42, if it detects that no Code42 software is currently installed.
Choose the 'Install Code42' button in the centre of the window. The next two screens will prompt you to download Code42 and then confirm the download as complete, as below.
Choose the 'Next' button to display the next screen that explains the need to register for the Code42 backup service - or confirm your registration, if already registered.
Choosing the 'Register' button will take you the Oxford single sign on prompt. Once authenticated here the following screen will display, asking you to enter an email contact address, so that the service can contact you about this account. Note: this information is held only by the HFS service and not shared with any other external service provider.
Note: your contact email address will default to your primary email address, but the field does allow the choice of an alternative address or the entry of a new address.
Choosing the 'Update' button registers your contact email address and proceeds to the following screen.
Click the 'Start Installation' button. Once the Code42 installation is complete, the following confirmatory screen displays:
This screen may be obscured by the Code42 Sign In screen. If so, move the Code42 screen temporarily to one side in order to follow the final instructions. Note the server address highlighted in the centre and then click the 'All Done' button to close this screen. Now return focus on the Code42 Sign On screen as below:
Enter the following information: in the Username field enter your SSO login that you have registered with Code42 previously. This should be in the form email@example.com i.e. don't forget the @ox.ac.uk bit.
In the Server Address enter clients.eu5.cpg.crashplan.com.
Now click 'Continue' to be taken to the familiar Oxford SSO screen to re-enter your SSO username and password.
Once authenticated, the Code42 app will set itself up, and you may see the message ‘Signing in …’ or a screen similar to below displayed for some time.
Please be patient and allow this to complete. Thereafter, if you have already installed Code42 on another separate machine already, the first dialogue screen will now offer you the choice of registering this machine as a new device to back up to the Code42 cloud, or as a replacement device for one of your other machines. You will normally choose the 'New Device' option. (If your current machine is indeed a new replacement for another machine that has failed and for which Code42 backups exist, choose the 'Replacement' option and follow the prompts.) If you are installing Code42 for the first time on your one and only device, you should not be prompted as above.
The Code42 front screen will now display and is ready for you to make a selection for backup (note: by default nothing is included). A further note: If you have a large amount of data to backup initially, at least 1TB or more, then please see the items The Code42 backup is very slow. How can I speed it up? and The estimated time to completion for my initial backup is ridiculously long. Can I speed it up? on the HFS FAQ page.
A brief introduction to the Code42 interface is available on our Getting Started with Code42 page. Extensive online support on using the CrashPlan app is available from the CrashPlan support pages. Common questions around the Oxford implementation of Code42 backup may be answered on our HFS FAQ page.