36200: Acronis Backup: VSS Troubleshooting Guide

    While using the VSS backup option to back up complex applications, you may encounter issues with creating volume snapshot/shadow copy. This article provides instructions on how to troubleshoot and resolve such issues.

    Follow these steps to troubleshoot issues with VSS backup in Acronis Backup (Acronis Backup & Recovery):

    1. Get familiar with VSS technology used in Acronis Backup (Acronis Backup & Recovery) in the About part.
    2. Check for known issues in the Known issues part.
    3. Follow to Troubleshooting part to troubleshoot and resolve the issue.

    About VSS technology

    Acronis Backup (Acronis Backup & Recovery) uses VSS technology to create consistent backup of complex applications.

    A VSS backup solution consists of following parts:

    • VSS service is responsible for the communication of all VSS components.
    • VSS requestor is represented by Acronis Backup and Recovery Backup Task that initiates the VSS backup.
    • VSS writer is a part of complex application that guarantees it's data consistency during backup.
    • VSS Provider is a component that creates and manages the snapshots/shadow copies.

      The VSS Providers available in Acronis Backup (Acronis Backup & Recovery) 11.5/11.7 are:

    VSS Provider Description
    Hardware/software - Select automatically VSS will use the hardware-based provider that supports the source volume. If none is found, VSS will use Acronis VSS Provider.
    Software - Select automatically In most cases, VSS will use Acronis VSS Provider.
    Software - Acronis VSS Provider VSS will use Acronis VSS Provider for taking snapshots.
    Software - System provider (selected by default) VSS will use the system provider (Microsoft Software Shadow Copy provider) for taking snapshots. We recommend choosing the system provider when backing up application servers (Microsoft Exchange Server, Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft SharePoint, or Active Directory).
    Software - A software provider In most cases, VSS will use the Microsoft Software Shadow Copy provider.
    Hardware - Select automatically VSS will use the hardware-based provider that supports the source volume. If no hardware-based provider is found, backups will be created by means of Acronis Backup (Acronis Backup & Recovery) 11.5 without taking snapshots.

     The VSS Providers available in Acronis Backup (Acronis Backup & Recovery) 12/12.5 are:

    VSS Provider Description
    Automatically select snapshot provider Automatically select among the hardware snapshot provider, software snapshot providers, and Microsoft Software Shadow Copy provider.
    Use Microsoft Software Shadow Copy provider We recommend choosing this option when backing up application servers (Microsoft Exchange Server, Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft SharePoint, or Active Directory).

    Detailed information about the VSS parts and their purpose can be found in this Microsoft TechNet Article: Volume Shadow Copy Service.

    How to enable/disable VSS backup:

    VSS backup is activated in default backup options.

    • In order to enable the VSS backup go to Backup options -> Volume Shadow Copy Service -> Use Volume Shadow Copy Service and chose the VSS provider you want to use.
    • In order to disable the VSS backup go to Backup options -> Volume Shadow Copy Service -> Do not use VSS.

    See more about VSS backup technology in following articles:

    Title Related to
    Creating Backup with Complex Applications Such As Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle or Microsoft Exchange Running on the Server Complex application backup
    Using Acronis True Image to Back Up a System with VSS Acronis VSS Provider technology
    Acronis Backup: Using Microsoft VSS instead of Acronis VSS Backup options
    Acronis Backup & Recovery 10: Using Microsoft VSS instead of Acronis VSS Backup options

    Known Issues

    Title Error Message/Code Related to
    Acronis Backup 11.7/11.5: Backup Fails with 'The shadow copy provider had an unexpected error while trying to process the specified operation' VSS provider fails during snapshot initialization  VSS Provider failure
    Acronis Backup: Disk Backup with Acronis VSS Provider Fails on Windows SBS and domain controllers Failed to create volume snapshot
    0x000101F6+0x00070021+0x0010C442+0x0010C469+0x0000FFF0+0x800423F0
    Acronis VSS Provider failure
    Acronis Backup Advanced 11.7/11.5: Backup of Information Store Fails with "The Instance of Microsoft Exchange Server Is Offline"

    The instance of Microsoft Exchange Server is offline
    0x0135003D+0x005B0642+0x005B0011+0x005B08B1+0x005B08B0

    MS Exchange VSS Writer failure on Windows SBS 2003
    Acronis Backup & Recovery 11: Backup Fails with "Failed to read the snapshot" and 0x0010C45A+0x0000FFF0 Failed to read the snapshot. The device is not ready.
    0x0010C45A+0x0000FFF0
    Windows native VSS provider failure
    Acronis Backup & Recovery 11: Backup Displays the "Failed to get VSS metadata for backup" Warning Failed to get VSS metadata for backup Failure to get VSS metadata
    Acronis Backup & Recovery 10 Advanced Server Virtual Edition: Hyper-V Backup Fails with "Volume Shadow Copy Service error: Unexpected error calling routine" (Event ID = 8193) Volume Shadow Copy Service error: Unexpected error calling routine Agent for Hyper-V backup failure
    Acronis Backup: VSS Backup Fails with "Failed to create volume snapshot" on a Machine with Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Failed to create volume snapshot Microsoft SQL Server 2000 database backup failure
    Title Related to
    Compatibility of Acronis Backup & Recovery 10 with StorageCraft's ShadowProtect Software compatibility issue
    VSS Locks Partition after Running a Backup

    Partition lock after backup

    Troubleshooting

    Use the free Acronis VSS Doctor tool to diagnose and fix the most common problems with VSS.

    If it did not help, follow step-by-step instructions below to troubleshoot the issue. Complete prerequisites step before proceeding to error troubleshooting step.

    1. Prerequisites

    In order for a VSS backup to function correctly, all of the following steps should be fulfilled. Complete all steps before proceeding to error troubleshooting step.

    1.1 Windows VSS services should be running

    Go to Start -> Run -> services.msc. The following Windows services should be set to Manual Start:

    • Microsoft Software Shadow Copy Provider
    • Volume Shadow Copy

    Following Windows service should be set to Automatic start and running:

    • COM+ Event System service

    1.2 Volume with shadow storage should have sufficient free space

    VSS creates shadows in the shadow storages for each volume. If the shadow storage is not pre-defined for the volume, by default it is temporary created during the shadow copy on the same volume. Every volume selected for backup (including recovery, boot and service partitions) should have sufficient space for the shadow storage and the shadow copy.

    In order to check that the volume has enough space for the shadow copy, create a shadow copy using the tools integrated in Windows and make sure the shadow copy is created successfully. If required, move the shadow storage to another volume or free up space on the volume.

    Select type of the operating system that is being used: Server OS or Workstation OS.

    Server OS:
    Go to My Computer -> Right click on any of internal volumes listed -> Configure Shadow Copies
    Select the volume you want to check and click on Create shadow copy to confirm that there is sufficient free space on each volume. Otherwise set up the storage area for the volume. You can also use the vssadmin utility to run this check and create,increase or relocate the shadow storage.

    Workstation OS:
    Go to Start -> Run -> diskmgmt.msc. Controll the size of all volumes. If any volume of size 1024 MB or less is present on the disks, it will not be backed up via VSS, see this MSDN article for technical reference. Increase the size of such volume up to 1025 MB and more or exclude it from the backup source.

    Select version of the operating system: Windows Vista/7/8/10 or Windows XP.

    Windows Vista/7/8/10:
    Go to Control Panel -> System - >System protection
    Select the volume you want to check and click on > Create shadow copy to confirm that there is sufficient free space on each volume. Otherwise configure protection for the volume and increaze the size of the storage.

    Windows XP:
    To check that the volume has enough free space and force the shadow copy creation, run the ntbackup utility and backup some data from the volume you want to check, checking the shadow copy creation. Run cmd and enter ntbackup.exe.
    In case you have to create or increase the size of the storage, go to Control Panel -> System -> System restore and configure space for the storage.

    1.3 Backup settings should be configured to use VSS snapshot

    Go to Backup settings -> Volume Shadow Copy -> Select the VSS provider. For a Workstation OS select Software - System provider, as other providers can be used only on Server OS.

    You need to have VSS snapshot enabled if you have databases running on your machine, otherwise you can set Do not use vss option.

    Go to edit backup plan -> backup source and check the volumes selected for backup. If not all volumes are selected for backup, go to backup settings and deactivate the multi-volume snapshot. If you deactivate the multi-volume snapshot, make sure there is no data spanned across the volumes to have application-consistent backup.

    1.4 VSS writers should be enabled and in consistent state

    Go to Start -> Run -> cmd. Execute the command:
         vssadmin list writers

    Check all writers' state. If any writer shows the state different to stable, proceed to VSS writer error troubleshooting step.

    In Windows Small Business Server 2003 Exchange VSS writer is disabled by default. Enable the writer to have Exchange database is consistent state.

    • Click Start, click Run, type regedit, and then click OK.
    • Locate and then double-click the following registry subkey: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\MSExchangeIS\ParametersSystem
    • Double-click the Disable Exchange Writer value.
    • In the Value data text box, change the value from 1 to 0, and then click OK.
    • Quit Registry Editor.
    • Click Start, point to Administrative Tools, and then click Services.
    • Stop and then restart the Microsoft Exchange Information Store service.

    If all steps above have been executed and issue still persists, go to error troubleshooting step.

    2. Error troubleshooting

    Analyze VSS errors to resolve the issue. Complete all steps before proceeding to collect information step.

    2.1 Acronis Backup and Recovery backup errors

    Find the log of the failed backup activity and check the error message. Go to known issues part and check for known solutions.

    If a known solution has been applied, but the issue still persists, go to prerequisites step to troubleshoot the new issue.

    If issue is not listed in known issues, proceed to windows errors step.

    2.2 Windows errors

    Go to Start -> Run -> eventvwr.msc. Navigate to Windows Logs -> Application and check for error messages related to VSS service. Search for solution in Microsoft Support articles, for example see this Microsoft TechNet Article.

    Go to Windows Logs -> System and check for error messages related to VSS service.

    Go to known issues part and check for known solutions.

    If issue is not listed in known issues and persists, proceed to the next step.

    2.3 VSS writer errors

    Go to Start -> Run -> cmd. Execute the command
         vssadmin list writers

    If a writer is in "retryable" error state, restart this writer service and retry the backup.

    Validate the writer:

    If the writer still produces the error, then perform a backup with this VSS writer usage initiated with other VSS provider to ensure it's validity.

    For Windows 2008, Windows 2008R2, Windows 8, Windows 2012 check the VSS writer with DiskShadow utility. Go to the article Using DiskShadow to Determine Issues with VSS for further instructions.

    Deactivate the writer:

    Deactivate the faulty writer. Go to Start -> Run -> services.msc, find the service for the particular writer and set it's start type to disabled, stop the service. Retry the backup. If backup succeeds, the writer causes the failure and issue should be addressed to the vendor of the writer. Deactivating the writer will lead to inconsistent backup of the application this writer was developed for.

    To confirm the malfunctioning of the writer caused by the Acronis Backup (Acronis Backup & Recovery), go to collect information step.

    If all steps above have been executed and issue still persists, go to collect information step.

    3. Collect information

    Collect following information and contact Acronis Customer Central.

    3.1 SnapAPI logs

    Collect SnapAPI logs:

    For other products contact Acronis Customer Central.

    3.2 VSS logs

    Collect the output of vssadmin utility for basic VSS troubleshooting:

    3.3 AcronisInfo

    Collect AcronisInfo from the machine with the VSS backup issue:

    More information

    When VSS backup fails, you can always create a consistent backup of applications suspending them before snapshot and starting them right after using batch files.

    See more:

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