ISA Server 2006 - Question regarding VSS Writer

Posted on 2009-02-23
Last Modified: 2012-05-06
I have an ISA-Server 2006 EE running on Windows Server 2003 SP2.
I want to backup via NTBackup and want to use the ISA VSS writer.

When I list the shadow copy Writers via "VSSAdmin List Writers" a lot of writers display the state "Waiting for Completion" (including ISA Writer).

Is this OK?
Does the writer work correctly?
Should the writer not be in state "stable"?

As far as I know the ISA writer should export the ISA-Config into an XML-File and include this into backup?
Where can I find this XML-File inside the backup file?
Is there a way to extract this file separately?

Thanks for help.


Question by:Karl-D5
    LVL 11

    Accepted Solution

    Hi Karl,

    The vssadmin list writers command lists the subscribed volume shadow copy writers

    The only worry would be if you are getting any errors like VSS ERRORS when backing up your database. Having state[5]: Waiting for completion or STABLE is a common scenario but a STATE of failure is a worry. I have confirmed this on 2 of my servers.

    Refer to this if you having errors -

    For more information about Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS), please check this white paper:

    LVL 11

    Expert Comment

    As per the second part of your question it is always easier to export the BACKUP in an XML file and then back it up. This is the easiest way and this is how I have always done it.
    I suggest take a read of this to understand it all -


    Author Comment

    Hi manav08,

    thanks for your comment regarding the VSS status. I have no error, so I think the status "Waiting for completion" is OK.

    I have read exactly the document of Marc Grote regarding the ISA-VSS-Writer. He discusses this VSS-Writer, but he does not document, how to access the saved XML-File inside the backup.

    So why save the XML-File (via ISA-VSS-Writer) when I am not able to get it back? I think, this is simply a documentation problem. Maybe, that the XML is somewhere in the backup, but it is hard to find, when I do not know the name and the path of the file.

    Sure, I can write a script to do this as a sepate job.
    Thanks for your comments.

    LVL 11

    Expert Comment

    In my understanding, restoring your Microsoft ISA Server directory in program files should restore your ISA settings as well. But I could not find any proof for it, so I have always used the script for that purpose because I prefer to restore from an XML file.
    I think all the VSS WRITER does is, allows the NTBACKUP to take a snapshot of the ISA Server Database at that instant that it is running. I do not really think that it would extract the xml file.

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