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Getting VSS to work in a corrupt OS

Posted on 2008-10-25
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Last Modified: 2010-04-21
I have a Dell server with windows 2003 server w sp2 on it that has become corrupt to the point the only solution I see is to rebuild it.  The only thing is that when I try to get any kind of backup using VSS it times out on me.  I have a 20 GB partician for the OS with 4 GB available.  My question is there a way to reinstall just VSS or to use VSS or something similiar to copy running programs remotely?
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Question by:Nrlynormal
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LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:brent_caskey
ID: 22806277
Hello Nrlynormal,

Have you applied the following hotfix to the system: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/940349? If not, I would recommend installing that. It will do a refresh of the VSS files on the system.

Are you getting any errors on VSS in the system or application logs? Please post any that you see.

Also, after you run the hotfix above (or if you already have), what output do you get when you run VSSADMIN LIST WRITERS from the command prompt. If you dont see any volume shadow copy writers listed you may need to re-register the VSS dlls.

Please see the following KB for the steps to re-register the VSS dll files and for some other various issues with VSS: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/940032/en-us

Regards,

brent_caskey
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Author Comment

by:Nrlynormal
ID: 22809376
HI Brent:
Sorry for the time delay.  I tried the hotfix. I have ran VSSADMIN LIST WRITERS only to get a blank page (no size and looking for a program to open it) every time.  I went into the registry and applied the fix anyway only to have no change in operation.  I am at a point where I am attaempting to make a mirror copy of the hard drives using ViceVersa as we speak so I am limited a to what I can and cannot look at for the ime being.  I will however monitor for any other advice you may have to pass on...

Jim
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LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:brent_caskey
ID: 22810065
Have you registered the dlls from the MS KB? http://support.microsoft.com/kb/940032/en-us 
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Author Comment

by:Nrlynormal
ID: 22811707
Brent:
I tried your mentioned solution, especially since one of my error messages was:
Event Type: Error
Event Source: VSS
Event ID: 12302
Description: Volume Shadow Copy Service error: An internal inconsistency was detected in trying to contact shadow copy service writers. Please check to see that the Event Service and Volume Shadow Copy Service are operating properly.
However it made no difference in the results.  Still trying to find a solution...:-)
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LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:brent_caskey
ID: 22829177
With that particular error, you may also want to try this: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/940184

It is very similar but it also has some registry edits that work sometimes.
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LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:brent_caskey
ID: 22854751
Did the above KB work to resolve your VSS issues?
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Author Comment

by:Nrlynormal
ID: 22857868
No.  That is a solution I tried a couple of weeks ago and again it made no difference.  I am in agreement with a collegue of mine here that the solution, if there is one, is in figuring out if I can repair MMC as it is acting up in more than one catagory.  Disk management being one area and releasing itself from being domain controller another in  a myriad of other problems.  I will have a chance to get on the server while it is free in a couple of hours.  If you can think of another way to go rather than a complete rebuild, I'll be monitoring any responses here.

Thanks.   JIm
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LVL 13

Accepted Solution

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brent_caskey earned 1500 total points
ID: 22858049
It sounds like you might need a rebuild. There are a lot of core components that you mentioned that are not working.

If you believe that MMC is the issue, you could try to reload MMC3 onto the server. However, it may state that you already have the update and not apply: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=4c84f80b-908d-4b5d-8aa8-27b962566d9f&DisplayLang=en

The other alternative would be to run sfc /scannow and try to repair any system files that might be an issue.

You could also re-apply SP2, if the server was not originally installed with SP2 (uninstall / reinstall SP2). A repair install is also an option - although these two suggestions can sometimes make the other apps on your server not function correctly thus requiring a rebuild anyway.
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Author Comment

by:Nrlynormal
ID: 22867042
I tried your other ideas and they rendered the same result.  So, as much as I hate to do it, I've scheduled a complete rebuild for this coming weekend.  It's proprietary software on it so I have to have the vendor involved at $225.00 an hour and I really hate that.  Thanks for your help in determining what I knew I was going to have to do.
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Author Closing Comment

by:Nrlynormal
ID: 31512684
Brent thanks for your help.  I have no idea how this particular server went so far south when my other ones are still chugging along just fine.  I don't think there was a real solution other than to rebuild the whole thing over again.
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