Now that I’ve got a full backup at CrashPlan, it’s time to see how getting things back works. First, start the CrashPlan app and select the Restore option, where you’ll be presented with a list of your files. You can drill down to the files or folders you want, click the tick boxes, and click the large friendly “Restore” button, and off it will go:
The moderately sensible default settings will restore the files to your Desktop, restores the most recently backed up version, and renames rather than replaces any files with the same name. If you want to restore something that you’ve actually deleted from your computer, tick the “Display deleted files” box to make sure it appears in the list. Be aware if you’re restoring a lot of files that they will be individually saved to the Desktop, not into a folder, so you may want to look at the options.
What’s that? You want options? CrashPlan has them. For a start, you might want an older version of a file – remember that CrashPlan keeps everything you back up unless you tell it not to. In that case, click on the most recent link and you’ll be shown a calendar which allows you to pick a point in time for the file you want:
You can change the destination for restores by clicking on the Desktop link, which will switch between restoring to the original location (good for deleted or corrupted files):
and if that’s not what you want, you can specify a folder to restore to – good for collections of files that you’d rather not have spread across your Desktop:
And finally, there’s a choice between renaming or replacing existing files in the destination:
I did a test restore of some files from my Downloads folder, which ran at an acceptable speed – between 2Mb/s and 3Mb/s, which is slow for my connection, but good enough. Obviously, if I had to restore all of my data it would take a while, but as most of it is what I’d call important rather than urgent, that’s fine. And I could always download the important stuff first before setting off a major restore job that I could leave running in the background for as long as it needed.
So, overall, CrashPlan still seems to be doing what I need. Well worth a free trial, and if you sign up and decide it’s not for you, they promise to refund the unused part of your subscription, which makes it a low-risk proposition.
 This is on Mac OS X, I’d guess it would be the same for Windows and Linux, but you should check this for yourself