CrashPlan unable to connect, check your network?

An annoying message at best, particularly when it’s obvious there’s nothing wrong with “your network”. I had this symptom on a Windows XP machine I installed CrashPlan 3.4.1 on last night.

The solution was to uninstall CrashPlan, turn on “Show hidden files and folders” in Folder Options of Windows Explorer (what if this doesn’t work?*) and hunt and delete all “CrashPlan” folders in the “C:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data” and “C:\Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings” (hidden) folders.

I then restarted the computer, installed CrashPlan once more, and all was working.

*Bootnote: Turns out some malware had been messing with the registry of that computer and disabled the GUI for “Show hidden files and folders”, rendering it ineffective. I would just tick the box, hit “Apply” and I would still not see the hidden files and folder. A quick scan with Malwarebytes fixed that.

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How do I backup my family’s data?

Depending on the hassle you’re willing to put up with, you have at least two alternatives:

  • Pay someone to give you space to backup your data to. This is usually referred to as “cloud backup” and the most secure service I’m aware of is SpiderOak. The most commercially attractive (cheap, good deals etc) is CrashPlan Central.
  • An alternative that’s much more labour-intensive (DIY) is to buy a few 1TB external hard drives (they go for £60 a pop nowadays) and give them to your friends/family. Then use CrashPlan to backup to their computers (really, the hard drives you gave them), without paying any usage charges to CrashPlan.