Windows Server Backup fails on 4k sector USB Drive

Posted on 2012-08-14
Last Modified: 2012-08-15
Hi everyone,

I'm having an issue with an SBS2008 R2 Windows Backup. First of all, I have confirmed that a complete backup can actually be made to a network location so there is no problem with the actual system. However, when we try to backup to the USB hard drive (Transcend StoreJet 320GB), we receive the following error - "One of the backup files could not be created. Detailed error: The request could not be performed because of an I/O error"
Backup error
After doing loads of research, I've discovered the problem appears to be an incompatibility with Windows Backup (and VHD files) and drives formatted with a physical sector size of 4k (4096 bytes). Apparently the backups only seem to work with 512 byte formats. I tried the Windows Format tool to format the drive but my lowest option was 4k
Server Format
I formatted it using the default allocation size but the System Information still said it was 4k
Server storejet info
I have a similar (though not identical) 500GB Storejet at our office which I have the option of formatting with 512 byte sectors.
Starrate format
I have tried performing the backups through Windows Backup using the option of backing up to a volume or having Windows Backup format the drive as a dedicated backup drive and had the original results both ways.

I've also installed the Microsoft KB982018 ( hotfix which is supposed to address the problem but still had the same results.

To my understanding, many of the new 4k drives have 512e (emulation) support but need to be specially formatted using a utility/tool from the manufacturer. I've seen a lot of support for WD drives but cannot find such a utility for Transcend.

Does anyone know of any utilites that can be used to do this type of format or have any alternative suggestions for the problem?

Question by:StarrateIT
    LVL 52

    Expert Comment

    For system state backup to USB drive you may need to add some registry settings on a. Please check this article

    For more about using Windows Backup/wbadmin please read
    Backing Up Your Server

    - Rancy
    LVL 46

    Accepted Solution

    The physical sector size cannot be changed within Windows and it is formatted normally at the HDD vendor side.
    As far as I know Transcend does not make the software for its drive that would change this physical sector size and also I am not sure if the drive does support it. There were tools that made true 4K physical sector but reverse? I doubt.
    What I would suggest is getting a copy of third party backup software that does not use VHD format for its backup images. Such as Paragon Drive Backup 11 Server Edition:
    It is more flexible and compresses the image + can pass protect the backup. Give it a try. It doesn't have problems with 4k drives.

    Author Closing Comment

    Hi Rancy. I tried the registry edit as per the link you provided but still had the same problem before and after rebooting the server. Thanks for your suggestion though.
    Noxcho, I think you might be right. I can't find a way to format the Transcend drives so it looks like our only option is to use a 3rd party backup solution or get new drives. Thanks to everyone for your input though. I really appreciate it.

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