How to get Crashplan to work with Windows XP and NAS or mapped drives

The short answer is to use the AT command and run a scheduled task as the SYSTEM user.

Now for the long answer and the juicy details.

As part of the preparation for getting this blog off the ground I auditioned several online back-up solutions.  Of those I found Crashplan to have the best combination of price and features.  There is a drawback however and it is a huge one.  Crashplan does not support network drives.

There is a workaround on the Crashplan site that works OK for Windows 7 and Vista (the two other operating systems I tried it on) but the workaround they provide for XP does not work.  The key in the first two instances is to make certain you set up your task as a SYSTEM task.  If it is not running as a SYSTEM task then it will not work.

This is the same problem that makes the Windows XP workaround not work.  Except in XP there is no way to make a task run as a system task from within the operating system itself.  This caused me, and I am sure many others, no end of heartache and wasted time.

But the solution is actually fairly easy.

First let’s look at the work around recommended by Crashplan.

Chances are if you have landed here you have already gone through all of the steps provided at the Crashplan site.  You have created a batch file to map your drive and scheduled it to run as a task… or at least tried to schedule a task only to find you are not allowed to make it a SYSTEM task.  If you have not completed these steps then hit the link and do all of that now.  Don’t worry, I will still be here when you get back.

Now for the part that Crashplan leaves out.

Assume you named your batch file Crashplan.bat like I did.

Next you need to open a command window and type the following.

at 10:00 /every:M,T,W,Th,F,S,Su c:\crashplan.bat

Substitute the name and location of your batch file for the one I used.

This will run your batch file as a system task every day of the week at 10:00 am.  You can use any time you like instead of 10:00 am.   If you would like to change some of the other parameters controlling when or how your program runs you can see the particulars of the AT command here.  Microsoft will detect the operating system being run by the machine you access the link with and try to warn you off but just ignore them if you are using a different machine than your XP device to look up the information you need.

The one caveat to remember is that since this is a scheduled task you will lose contact with your mounted drive whenever your computer reboots and the connection will not be reestablished until the scheduled task runs again.  Just forcing the batch file to run will not work but you can change the clock on your computer to a few seconds before the task execution time, let the task execute, and then reset the time if you need to get things back up and running before the next scheduled time.

If you have found this information helpful please hit the tip jar or buy something through the Amazon link the next time you need to purchase something online.  That puts a little money in my pocket and does not cost you anything.  We all have to eat and hopefully I have saved you enough time to make it worth coming here one more time to hit the Amazon link instead of going in through your browser.

I thank you in advance for your kindness and generosity to me and my family.


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