Having started working in my current IT support role a little over a year ago, I was shocked to discover that the general fix for Windows Server Backup errors caused by failed VSS writers was to reboot the server. I had in my previous role resolved this issue many times by restarting the service that related to the VSS writer. For example the “Microsoft Hyper-V VSS Writer” failure can be resolved by restarting the “Hyper-V Virtual Machine Management” service (vmms).
A list of failed writers on any given Windows server can be generated by executing the following command from an elevated command prompt:
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C:\Windows\system32>vssadmin list writers
For easier reference I personally export the results to a text file using the following:
Once completed you can easily open the generated file in notepad with:
Using the table below find the service for each VSS Writer that is in a failed state, make a note of each service name.
|VSS Writer||Service Name||Service Display Name|
|ASR Writer||VSS||Volume Shadow Copy|
|BITS Writer||BITS||Background Intelligent Transfer Service|
|Certificate Authority||EventSystem||COM+ Event System|
|COM+ REGDB Writer||VSS||Volume Shadow Copy|
|DFS Replication service writer||DFSR||DFS Replication|
|DHCP Jet Writer||DHCPServer||DHCP Server|
|FRS Writer||NtFrs||File Replication|
|FSRM writer||srmsvc||File Server Resource Manager|
|IIS Config Writer||AppHostSvc||Application Host Helper Service|
|IIS Metabase Writer||IISADMIN||IIS Admin Service|
|Microsoft Exchange Writer||MSExchangeIS||Microsoft Exchange Information Store|
|Microsoft Hyper-V VSS Writer||vmms||Hyper-V Virtual Machine Management|
|NTDS||NTDS||Active Directory Domain Services|
|OSearch VSS Writer||OSearch||Office SharePoint Server Search|
|OSearch14 VSS Writer||OSearch14||SharePoint Server Search 14|
|Registry Writer||VSS||Volume Shadow Copy|
|Shadow Copy Optimization Writer||VSS||Volume Shadow Copy|
|SPSearch VSS Writer||SPSearch||Windows SharePoint Services Search|
|SPSearch4 VSS Writer||SPSearch4||SharePoint Foundation Search V4|
|SqlServerWriter||SQLWriter||SQL Server VSS Writer|
|System Writer||CryptSvc||Cryptographic Services|
|TermServLicensing||TermServLicensing||Remote Desktop Licensing|
|WINS Jet Writer||WINS||Windows Internet Name Service (WINS)|
|WMI Writer||Winmgmt||Windows Management Instrumentation|
Using the list of service names complied from the above table restart each of the services, this can be achieved from services.msc or an elevated command prompt.
Right click on the service, and then, on the Action menu, click Restart.
Elevated command prompt
Execute the following to stop the service:
Once stopped the service needs to be restarted with:
Once the necessary services have been restarted check the status of the VSS Writers:
The relevant VSS writers should now show as stable with no Error.
IT Consultant & Microsoft Licensing Solutions Specialist