Saturday, 4 May 2013

How to use CrashPlan but not suffer from using so much RAM memory

I use CrashPlan to backup my data as mentioned in a previous article – it’s free for local backups and for sharing HDD space using multiple friends’ HDD space.  I have noticed that the RAM usage goes up in proportion to the number of files that you have selected to backup – even during the time when the backups are disabled.  imageMy CrashPlan settings are set to backup only during the hours that I’m not working on my PC and when I’m connected to my home network (where my external HDD is connected).  I’m also not working at those times so when CrashPlan is accessing the HDD it doesn’t slow down my PC.
The settings to limit the time that CrashPlan does the backups can be found in the CrashPlan Desktop interface under “Settings->Backup->Between Specified Times”.  I have selected From 18:00 to 08:00 and ticked each day – so that backups only happen at night daily.
I noticed that even when the backup was disabled, the CrashPlanService was using a lot of RAM memory (over 500MB) – and I found my PC swapping to disc all the time – which was slowing my PC down – a bit of a waste!  So, I found a way to create a schedule that stopped the CrashPlanService just after 08h00 and start it again just before 18h00.

Creating a scheduled task to kill the service:
Open the “Control Panel->Administrative Tools-> Task Scheduler” 
Click into “Microsoft->Windows”: 
imageClick on “Create Task”:
imageEnter name: “Turn OFF CrashPlan service”, under “Triggers” tab:
imageUnder “Actions” tab: enter Program to run:  C:\Windows\System32\taskkill.exe
and under “Add arguments” enter:    /IM CrashPlanService.exe /F
imageClick OK to save the scheduled task.

Creating a scheduled task to start the service:
Click on “Create Task”:
imageEnter name: “Turn ON CrashPlan service”, under “Triggers” tab:
imageUnder “Actions” tab: enter Program to run:    C:\Windows\System32\net.exe
and under “Add arguments” enter:    start CrashPlanService

Click OK to save the scheduled task.

Your tasks list should look like this:
You can test the tasks by right clicking the task and selecting “Run”:

With thanks to Scott Granneman for his blog that describes the steps to do this in Linux.


  1. Thanks. Was struggling to get the CrashPlan memory under control. This is a great solution.

  2. Thanks, bro! I would often stop the service manually when I'm working but usually forgot to turn it back on.

  3. Now if we can just get Crashplan to build this feature into their software. Thanks for sharing!

  4. I can't get Crashplan to start again using the task. Is there a way to determine the problem?

  5. Followed these instructions exactly, but can't get either one of these tasks to work -- they run for awhile and then stop, but the Crash plan service doesn't stop. If I stop it manually, then try running the scheduled task to restart it, it also won't start. Any way to make these work?

  6. For some of the people who can't get the task to work, try checking the "Run with highest priviledges" checkbox, located at the bottom right of the window, when you double click the task in the Task Scheduler.

  7. This is an excellent solution! Thanks for this.
    A couple of things to note and some tweaks that made if work for me:
    1. Needed to use a user account with administrator privileges and a password enabled (somehow I missed that in my haste)
    2. Consider using 'net.exe' for both tasks and formulate them thusly --

    To turn OFF:
    Program/Script = C:\Windows\System32\net.exe
    Add Arguments = stop CrashPlanService

    To turn ON:
    Program Script = C:\Windows\System32\net.exe
    Add Arguments = start CrashPlanService

    *NOTE: neither argument contains '.exe' after the service name

    Making these tweaks has made it work for me and it's a great fix!
    Thanks again to Scott for the idea.

    1. I am running windows 8.1 and needed to change a couple of things on the General tab to get both to work, as follows;

      1. Tick the box labeled "Run with highest privileges"
      2. Set your operating system in the "Configure for" dropdown at the bottom

      After this they both ran perfectly.

      Thanks to HandyTechTipper for the original idea and to Joel for the tweaks :)

    2. I am running windows 8.1 and needed to change a couple of things on the General tab to get both to work, as follows;

      1. Tick the box labeled "Run with highest privileges"
      2. Set your operating system in the "Configure for" dropdown at the bottom

      After this they both ran perfectly.

      Thanks to HandyTechTipper for the original idea and to Joel for the tweaks :)

  8. Hi Joel, thanks for the kind words and thanks for sharing your tweaks!

    Regards HTT ;)

  9. imho, this does not make sense.
    rather than using crashplan for backups at night, I would rather run imaging software (such as paragon, macrium, etc) over night (incremental, encrypted images) and upload these files to where-ever you want. you can also take the initial large full incremental image physically to some remote place so you won't have to upload that one. this is a much cleaner solution for over night backups.
    the whole point of crashplan is to have *continuous* online backup during the day. if you disable the service, this won't work.
    however, note that continuous online backup is not an option for anyone who is on the road and does not have an LTE flat or continuous hotspot access, anyway. sdd failure and most trojans would be accounted for by backup to an sd card, laptop theft is more difficult to tackle, one could carry a small wireless router in one's pocket with and micro sdxc and backup to that, or some other wireless drive that fits in ones pocket. there are solutions that continuously backup ones data that require less cpu/ram than CP, in any case. I haven't yet looked into those who also can do online, though. currently, I use second copy. with some tricks, one can get it do to online backup to, but I guess there are better solutions.
    so what about crashplan? if you can't live wit the cpu/ram problem, and still want to use it, I'd say one should look into pointing CP to the directory where your imaging software creates your incremental images. if you have enough bandwidth, that is. you can still, in addition, point cp to additional folders, but this won't help you if you loose your work at 17:00, or if you want to restore a version from 15:00 etc.
    there is no point in pointing cp to additional folders though: if you loose your complete data, you will have to download all imagages anyway. and if you just want a single file back, you can get it from the local version of your images (you should keep a local backup anyway, in addtion).

  10. Thanks joel for giving me the idea to use net.exe instead of taskkill. I set a task to use the SYSTEM account hidden (so it does not popup) at 4am to start it and one to stop it at 11am. I also set the backup schedule inside of crashplan so it did not interrupt anything. One important thing to note is that the system tray icon will not pop back up after starting the service with net start unless you also start "C:\Program Files\CrashPlan\CrashPlanTray.exe" under your User account (check only run if logged in too). Otherwise you get no notification of it starting. I wish crashplan could just NOT hog memory but for free you can't complain. Great tutorial guys!

  11. CrashPlan has changed things. My Start task now runs C:\Users\[user]\AppData\Local\Programs\CrashPlan\CrashPlanService.vbs -- No arguments, no start folder, and no longer using C:\Windows\System32\net.exe to execute it.


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