VSS failure

Posted on 2014-01-29
Last Modified: 2014-03-17
I am supporting a Windows Server 2008 R2 installation. Recently the monthly Macrium Reflect image copy job has failed due to VSS failures. I have attached the relevant events log entries and the status of the VSS writers.

Can anyone shed some light on how to correct this problem please?
Question by:grapey100
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Author Comment

ID: 39817162

Expert Comment

by:Ratnesh Mishra
ID: 39819616
Step 1 : Reboot the server .
Step 2 : Check all the writers are in stable state.
Step 3 : Run windows backup for a small file or drive. To verify if windows backup tool and related writers and providers are working fine.

If windows backup completes successfully ,it meas application may have problems and its time to get updates either from Microsoft or from backup application vendor.

Before you contact application vendor . Either provide me the version of below mentioned files related to VSS so that I can provide you relevant Hotfix's links or you can directly update those files to the latest on and check if it works for you .

Files to be verified / Updated :-
1. Volsnap.sys
2. Vssvc.exe
3. Eventcls.dll
4. Vssapi.dll
5. Vsstrace.dll

Don't forget to reboot the machine after installing the hotfixes.

Author Comment

ID: 39820163
Ratnesh, thanks for the reply. Since the server is in use most of each day and early evening (it's a golf club), I may not be able to reboot until tonight. Thanks
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Besides backup, any IT division should have a disaster recovery plan. You will find a few tips below relating to the development of such a plan and to what issues one should pay special attention in the course of backup planning.


Author Comment

ID: 39823468
I have done steps 1-3 above. I successfully backed up an image of the c: drive.

I have attached the files as requested. I have renamed files to .txt to allow them to be uploaded.


Expert Comment

by:Ratnesh Mishra
ID: 39824830
Thanks for the files , I will provide you few hotfixs after sometime for updating. However as you mentioned you followed the steps mentioned above and you were able to backup c:\drive successfull. This indicates the windows backup files are intact now its just the application causing the issue. However we will check if the hotfixes fix the issue ,if not then may be you need to contact application vendor for the same. Allow me some time.

Expert Comment

by:Ratnesh Mishra
ID: 39825303
As seen all the VSS writers are in stable state ,so you were able to take the windows backup successfully.

Now regaridng the versions of the VSS files :-
Your current Versions are :
eventcls.dll    6.1.7600.16385
Volsnap.sys     6.1.7601.17514
vssapi.dll      6.1.7601.17514
vsstrace.dll    6.1.7601.16385
vssvc.exe       6.1.7601.17514

The version of files can be seen in the properties of that file under details tab.

VSS Hotfix for SBS 2011 SP1/Server 2008 R2 SP1

1)  (SP1 reqd.)
Update File: Volsnap.sys
Version: 6.1.7601.21854 (same version)
-or-  (SP1 reqd.)
Update File: Volsnap.sys
Version: 6.1.7601.21854 (same version)

If above Hotfix fails to install, then ONLY try installing below hotfix (lower version): 
Update File: Volsnap.sys
Version: 6.1.7600.20967 (2K8R2 without SP1 version)
Version: 6.1.7601.21728 (2k8R2 with SP1 version)

2) (Has to be installed/Updated separately)
Update File: Vssvc.exe
Version: 6.1.7600.20714

If above fails to install, then ONLY try installing the below (lower version though): 
Update file: Vssvc.exe
Version: 6.1.7600.20617

3) (Has to be installed/Updated separately)
Update Files:
Eventcls.dll (version: 6.1.7600.16385)
Vssapi.dll (version: 6.1.7600.20737)
Vsstrace.dll (version: 6.1.7600.20737)

At last if above hotfixes fix your issue then its fine else you may try below hotfix after trying abovce ones    for Volsnap.sys

Cautions :

Always create restore point for Desktop machine and for server take system state backup ,so in case of unwanted result you may rollback the previous state. Apart from this I would always suggest to install hotfixs one at a time and go for restart. In case after installation of hotfixs if machine goes to no boot situation , you may use Last Known good configuration to get back to the previous working state.

Author Comment

ID: 39845180
Ratnesh - apologies for the delay in responding.

Having looked at the various hotfix descriptions that you list, none of them appear to address the error code I am encountering. The hotfixes generally say only install to fix the specific error listed here so before I try any of them, I wanted to check with you.


Expert Comment

by:Ratnesh Mishra
ID: 39847483
I know , however being a profession support engineer I know and understand that these hotfixes not only fixes the known issue specifically mentioned in the KB article but they are the advance version of those file which is redesigned to work more significantly.
That was my suggestion . I would suggest you to install individual hotfix one by one and in case you face any issue you can always rollback to the last know good configuration else you can take a system state backup and install all hotfixes .
I am sure updating the all VSS related file not only fix your issue but will provide you optimized performance as well.

The other way to solve this is to contact application vendor and check if they have any update regarding the issue as Windows backup performed without any issue.

Author Comment

ID: 39847606
Ratnesh - thanks - I will apply the fixes in the next few days and report back. Many thanks

Author Comment

ID: 39902630
Still on this but delays in getting a long enough window to do the updates as the customer has a 7 day (daytime and evening) business. Will report once VSS fixes have been applied.

In the meantime I have updated the backup software (Macrium Reflect) from the V4 Standard Edition to the V5 Server Edition. The error still occurs. The specific error message now being displayed is:

Starting Image - Sunday, March 02, 2014 00:01:40
 Creating Volume Snapshot - Please Wait
 ERROR: COM call "m_pVssObject->BackupComplete(&pAsync)" failed.
 - Returned HRESULT = 0x80042301
 - Error text: VSS_E_BAD_STATE
 Gathering Windows Events - Please Wait
 Backup aborted! - Failed To Create Volume Snapshot. Result Code: 0x8004230f

Accepted Solution

Ratnesh Mishra earned 500 total points
ID: 39905169
Based on the article even your application vendor doesn't have support and is suggesting to wait untill microsoft release the new patch else use Windows backup.

Since the KB was written in year 2013 hope the above mentioned hotfixes  may resolve the issue or may need to contact Microsoft for the latest hotfixes.

Author Comment

ID: 39905829
Ratnesh, many thanks for the article link. Looks like you may hit the nail on the head. I recently added a 3TB portable drive to carry out image backups on the client PCs.

The server image does not backup to this drive however, the sector size is 4096 rather than 512.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 39934884
The problem is caused by the fact that the Seagate 3TB drive I was using for backups has a sector size of 4096 which is incompatible with Windows backup. Seagate do not provide any 512e emulation mode.

I have given up on the Seagate drive and will be using a 1TB drive.

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