Setting up a Crashplan FreeNAS Plugin Jail


I backup about 400 Gigabytes of photo RAW files and Lightroom (LR) catalogs to the cloud using CrashPlan. I used to have these files on a single hard drive inside my computer – dangerous!

I realised that I needed my photo files on a RAID array so that I don’t lose everything in case of a single disk failure. Instead of putting a RAID array inside my PC, or directly attaching a RAID array to it using USB or Thunderbolt (called a “DAS” for “directly attached”), I realised I didn’t need to spend money when I already have a perfectly good RAID box already – my NAS running FreeNAS!

I had a rude shock though when it came to backing up with CrashPlan running on my PC, and having my work files on a mapped network drive. CrashPlan refused to touch the files on the mapped network drive! I then to take the plunge and move the CrashPlan engine to my NAS, and do backups from there. Brilliant!

About Running CrashPlan “Headless”

CrashPlan has two basic parts – the CrashPlan application, and the CrashPlan engine. The engine runs continuously and backups up even when the client isn’t running. The client just checks the engine status, and is used to configure it. The Client app is designed to connect to an engine on the local machine and not on a remote machine. Luckily it uses TCP ports, so we can hack the configuration in order to get it to connect to a remote (headless) machine.

Install the CrashPlan Plugin Jail

Setup you jail configuration, if you haven’t already. Mine is as follows:

jail configuration

Install the CrashPlan plugin jail by going to “Plugins > Available” and then highlighting “CrashPlan” and then clicking the “Install” button.

After it has installed, map the files you want to backup into the jail under “View Jails > Storage”. You’ll find detailed instructions on this on the FreeNAS documentation homepage.

My jail storage is as follows:

jail storage

“volume1” is my raid array volume, and “lacie” is an external 12TB USB3.0 drive volume. I initially decided to use CrashPlan to backup all my files (software, multimedia and music) to my external drive, but I found that too slow. Now I just have a backup set to back up my “RAW files” and “Calalogs”, which are contained within my “/software/photography”, as I didn’t want to create another dataset just for those two.

It makes sense to only map your source files as read-only as I have done here – no need to give CrashPlan more permissions than it needs to do its job, and safeguards the files in case something goes drastically wrong. Mapped like this – you can only trash your backups, and not the source.

Update the Plugin Jail

I usually run the following for any new jail to get it up to date:

pkg clean     # clean out old cache
pkg update    # gets the latest list of files
pkg upgrade   # updates the jail software

I also like to install bash with “pkg install bash” and then log out and back into the jail under bash:

sarlacc# jls
 JID IP Address Hostname Path
 1 - crashplan_1 /mnt/volume1/jails/crashplan_1
 2 - dnsmasq /mnt/volume1/jails/dnsmasq
 3 - plexmediaserver_1 /mnt/volume1/jails/plexmediaserver_1
 4 - sabnzbd_1 /mnt/volume1/jails/sabnzbd_1
sarlacc# jexec 1 bash
[root@crashplan_1 /]#

Configure SSH in the Plugin Jail

You’ll need SSH in order to connect your PC to the CrashPlan engine running on the NAS. This is quite straightforward:

Edit “/etc/ssh/sshd_config" and uncomment/edit as follows:

PermitRootLogin yes
PasswordAuthentication yes
AllowTcpForwarding yes

For more security you can create another user such as “adduser crashplan” or “adduser backupuser” etc, but I don’t bother – I just use the root user and set a strong root password (in the jail) with “passwd root” command.

Next get sshd going:

sysrc sshd_enable=YES  # allows sshd to be started as a service
service sshd keygen    # generate sshd keys
service sshd start     # start the sshd service
service sshd status    # check sshd service status - should return the process ID

Update and Start CrashPlan Engine in Plugin Jail

The current problem we face is that the plugin is only version 3.6.3_1, and that’s way behind the exiting GUI version of 4.7, and there are compatibility issues. No problem – just manually update the jail:

su -                    # if not already root
cd /usr/pbi/crashplan-amd64/share/crashplan
wget --no-check-certificate
tar -xf CrashPlan_4.7.0_Linux.tgz
cd crashplan-install
cpio -idv < CrashPlan_4.7.0.cpi
service crashplan stop
cd ..
rm -r lib*
cp -r crashplan-install/lib* .
sysrc crashplan_enable=YES

The above assumes that 4.7 is the latest version, and that the crashplan TARGETDIR is “/usr/pbi/crashplan-amd64/share/crashplan“. Check the install vars here:

root@crashplan_1:/usr/pbi/crashplan-amd64/share/crashplan # cat install.vars 

you may have to change “JAVACOMMON=/usr/pbi/crashplan-amd64/share/crashplan/jre/bin/java” to: “JAVACOMMON=/usr/pbi/crashplan-amd64/bin/java” if you get an error message in /var/log/crashplan/engine_error.log complaining about “”

How I found the correct java:

[root@crashplan_1 /usr/pbi/crashplan-amd64/share/crashplan]# find / -name "java"

/usr/pbi/crashplan-amd64/linux-sun-jre1.7.0/bin/java -version   Java(TM) SE Runtime Environment (build 1.7.0_51-b13) 
/usr/pbi/crashplan-amd64/share/java -version  directory
/usr/pbi/crashplan-amd64/share/crashplan/jre/bin/java -version   - breaks with issue
/usr/pbi/crashplan-amd64/bin/java -version   (build 1.7.0_51-b13)

Go to Plugins > CrashPlan, in the left hand side tree menu in order to accept the Java licence agreement. This trips a lot of people up.

Now start Crashplan

 service crashplan start

You can check that CrashPlan is running with the following:

root@crashplan_1:/mnt/lacie # sockstat -4 | grep java
root java 4859 88 tcp4
root java 4859 105 tcp4 *:*
root java 4859 108 tcp4
root java 4859 119 tcp4

Line 2 is a connection to, which is Code42 Australia, where I am backing up some files to.
Line 3 is listening on the local server for new connections.
Line 4 is a an SSH port map from my Windows PC where I run the GUI. We’ll get to that.
Line 5 is a connection to , which is Code42 (makers of CrashPlan) in the USA. Possibly a license server.

Don’t be alarmed when you see “crashplan is not running”, when issuing a “service crashplan status”. If Java is listening on the 4243 port then it should be fine. 🙂

Configure SSH in Windows

I use a program called SecureCRT to easily setup the portmap, connecting to my jail IP of, and CrashPlan port of 4243, using local Windows port of 4200:

Crashplan port forward secure CRT with crashplan settings

It’s handy to create a save a session for this, and then create a desktop shortcut to the session, so you can just double-click the icon and start it. I like to start it minimised. The target for the shortcut for me is “C:\Program Files\VanDyke Software\SecureCRT\SecureCRT.exe" /S "CrashPlan

NB: Check that 4243 is actually your CrashPlan engine port, with the “sockstat -4 | grep java” command above.

Connecting Windows CrashPlan Client to FreeNAS CrashPlan Engine

After setting up the portmap, we need to finish off by connecting the Windows Client to the FreeNAS server. To do this we need to update the following file:  “C:\ProgramData\CrashPlan\.ui_info” changing port and API key.

e.g. from:




The format is <local port>,<api key>,<IP address>. Where is the API key you might ask? Answer – from the server’s .ui_info file. Run this on the FreeNAS box to check:

cat /var/lib/crashplan/.ui_info

You can double check the server’s port config there.

Once the Windows “.ui_info file” is saved, you should now be able to start the CrashPlan application on your PC and connect to the server.

The .ui_info file reverts back to the previous settings on every reboot of Windows. It is therefore important to create a .bat file to update this on reboot.

Windows Batch File

  1. Copy your newly configured “.ui_info” file to a new file called “freenas.ui_info” in the same directory.
  2. Create a file called “cpcfg.bat” (short for “crashplan configuration”) in the same directory, with the following contents:
    copy C:\ProgramData\CrashPlan\FreeNAS.ui_info C:\ProgramData\CrashPlan\.ui_info
  3. Create a shortcut to that same cpcfg.bat file in the same folder.
  4. Once the shortcut has been created, right-click the file and select Cut.
  5. Press the WindowsKey+R to get to the “Run” dialog box.
  6. Type “shell:startup” in the Run dialog box and hit “OK”.
  7. Paste your “cpcfg.bat” shortcut into that folder.
  8. Right-click on the shortcut and go to “Properties > Shortcut (tab) > Advanced, and click “Run as Administrator”, and then OK, Apply, OK, to save.

Now everytime you reboot, that file will have the correct info. If that doesn’t work then you’ll have to just manually run the .bat file.

Troubleshooting and Tips

I did the following when I was troubleshooting, just following tips on forums, as you do. I’m not sure if they made my setup work or not, but if you have trouble, then it doesn’t hurt to try the following on the server, within the CrashPlan plugin jail:

ln -s /usr/local/bin/bash /bin/bash
/usr/bin/cpuset -l 0 /usr/local/share/crashplan/bin/CrashPlanEngine restart

In the GUI you can doubleclick on the CrashPlan “House” and logo on the top right and bring up the GUI CLI. Type “” and you should see something like this: 

UI Port=4243
HTTP Port=4244

Address= and UI Port=4243 is correct if you’re mapping local port 4200 to server port 4243


Big tip here is to set the CPU usage to 100% (for user present and idle) in the FreeNAS GUI. This is because FreeNAS does CPU management for jails, and 100% within the jail means about 60% overall. The more CPU you throw at it, the better.

It does help to have a very grunty box when doing local backups at speed. I found that my speeds went up, the more I ramped CPU up to 100%, so it’s definitely CPU-bound. I get about 325Mbps  (bits not bytes) to my external Lacie 12TB box over USB3.0 (5Gbps throughput). That would definitely go up with more CPU clock cycles.


There’s no need to compress your files within the jail, if you’ve already turned compression on at the dataset level. You’re just wasting your time and CPU otherwise. It is good to compress when going over the Internet though, so save your network bandwidth.


This draws heavily from these two links:
Using CrashPlan On A Headless Computer
FreeNAS Forums: CrashPlan 4.5 Setup



  1. Thanks for this guide. Will try it on one of my stand alone FreeNAS boxes. But the first problem you experienced, not getting CrashPlan to touch the files on a mounted drive is easily fixed:
    Start the CrashPlay Engine as the user System, you change this in the services tab of windows. reboot, and voila! You can back up network drives.

  2. Many thanks for the information. This allowed me to upgrade the plugin after CrashPlan forced the desktop application to upgrade, which broke my FreeNAS Crashplan setup.

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