60241: Acronis Cyber Backup: Backup of SQL instance fails with "There are no SQL writers" or "No SQL writers are found in the operating system."

Last update: 26-08-2021


You have installed Acronis Cyber Backup Agent for SQL and created a backup plan for a SQL instance.

Backup task fails with this error: The backup of this SQL Server has failed because of a VSS snapshot failure: No SQL writers are found in the operating system


Backup fails with:

The backup has failed because 'SqlServerWriter' has failed during snapshot creation.

And in Windows Application Event log, you notice this error from SQLWRITER:
Sqllib error: OLEDB Error encountered calling ICommandText::Execute. hr = 0x80040e14. SQLSTATE: 42000, Native Error: 3013 Error state: 1, Severity: 16
Source: Microsoft SQL Server Native Client 11.0 Error message: BACKUP DATABASE is terminating abnormally.
SQLSTATE: 42000, Native Error: 3265
Error state: 1, Severity: 16
Source: Microsoft SQL Server Native Client 11.0 Error message: The login has insufficient authority. Membership of the sysadmin role is required to use VIRTUAL_DEVICE with BACKUP or RESTORE.


Possible causes for this error issue include:

  • The SQL writer service is disabled
  • The SQL writer service fails to start correctly
  • The service account for the SQL writer service is missing the necessary privileges
  • Issue with SQL instance or database
  • There are spaces in database name
  • SQL VSS writer is not present on the system


  The SQL Writer Service provides  added functionality for backup and restore of SQL Server through the Volume Shadow Copy Service framework, and its proper functioning is required in order for Acronis Cyber Backup to work:

1)  Hit Win+R and type services.msc. In Services window, find SQL Writer Service. If it is not started, right-click on it and select Start.

2) Make sure that SQL Writer Service runs under Local System account

3) If SQL Writer Service fails to start or crashes, investigate the issue with the service. Check the error message and Windows Application Event logs for possible causes of failure. 

4) Check that the user account is added to SQL Server security logins and that it has the "sysadmin" role for the SQL instance:

  1. Using SQL Management Studio, connect to the SQL instance.
  2. Go to Security -> Logins.
  3. Open account properties and switch to Server Roles:
  4. Mark the sysadmin check box:

5) On a domain controller, for example an SBS server, you might see that SqlServerWriter is not listed in the output of the vssadmin list writers command. In this case, change SQL VSS Writer Service user from Local System to domain administrator.

6) Check if there are spaces in database names:

  • Open MS SQL Management Studio, right-click on any database and select Run query 
  • Run the following query: select '#' + name +'#'  from sys.databases where name like '% %'
  • If you notice any space in database names e.g. #database01  #, rename the database to exclude the space: see MS documentation for instructions.

7) Check the state of SQL VSS writer:

  • Open an elevated command prompt: open the start menu and type CMD in the search bar, then right-click the command prompt and select Run as Administrator.
  • Execute the following  command to check VSS writers state:

         vssadmin list writers

  • Check that SQL VSS writer is present in the list and its state is Stable. Acronis software relies on VSS to perform backup operations and the correct functioning of SQL VSS writer is a prerequisite for a successful SQL backup.  

    If SQL VSS writer is not present on the system, the problem should be addressed to Microsoft and/or researched using their support resources. 

More information

If the above solution does not help, use Acronis VSS Doctor for further troubleshooting.

For assistance, please contact Acronis Support.