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Acronis 11.5 on Windows 2003 Server and VSS Conflicting Causing Crash

Posted on 2014-07-25
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Last Modified: 2016-10-27
I have a Windows 2003 Server using Acronis 11.5 backup & recovery software.  The problem I'm having is before the backup can complete the server becomes unresponsive to the network.   This problem seems well documented throughout the net.  I want to disable VSS completely as I feel this will solve my issues.  My question is, is this a good idea?  The problem isn't constant but a couple times a week.  Thanks in advance.
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Question by:1namyln
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noxcho earned 250 total points
ID: 40221225
If you disable VSS completely then you will not be able to backup the system online. Means thag backup will be possible from boot cd only.
Have you tried it witout antivirus?
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by:1namyln
ID: 40221433
I will disable the Antivirus and see what happens.
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Expert Comment

by:pgm554
ID: 40222654
You got everything patched?
Including :

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/887827
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by:1namyln
ID: 40227256
Doesn't look like this patch is applied per my add remove programs.

Also disabling the virus protection didn't seem to work.  Server ran OK for a few days then back to normal unresponsiveness.
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by:noxcho
ID: 40227483
Do I understand it properly - the only thing affected is network, right?
Does all the rest function properly?
And where do you image the server? Network or local drive?
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by:1namyln
ID: 40233359
The workstations used to receive DHCP and DNS info from the server.  Since these issues started I moved this functionality to the router.

The server becomes unresponsive.  Meaning that the power button must be held down in order to recover.  Unfortunately I'm never present when the halt occurs to I can't get exact details on what if anything is happening on the monitor attached to the server.

Images are saved to a USB attached HD directly attached to the server.
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by:pgm554
ID: 40237970
So the dns ip is no longer the file server?

This sounds like a memory leak.
How much ram,what services do you have running on it and have you run a best practices analyzer on it?
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by:noxcho
ID: 40238048
Ok this is more precise information.
When it hangs and you do hard reset - anything suspicious in Event Log viewer?
Acronis installs its own VSS requestor so it could ne conflicting with native MS requestor. Just thinking loud. But if the hanging occurs at the end of the backup process I would suspect some partition which could be a culprit.
Can you take a screen shot of Windows Disk Management and post it here?
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by:1namyln
ID: 40240460
C: and D: are on a RAID1 array containing 3 disk.  The others are single connected USB drives where server and workstation backups are stored.  Best I can tell I haven't had any restarts since July 27th.  The only change I can remember making is selecting do not use VSS to create snapshot.
diskmgmtscreenshot.png
DoNotUseVSS.png
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by:pgm554
ID: 40240523
You running Sytore Total Recall Pro BE in addition to Acronis?

If so ,pick one backup or the other,but not both.
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by:noxcho
ID: 40240719
Please run vssadmin list writers command.
See its output. Are all writers working OK?
Then, try to take backup of the system using Windows Backup feature. It uses VSS as well. You will see if it hangs or not.
As you say it works when VSS is disabled and the fact that it does not restart means that Acronis is using its native hot processing driver for this. Which is ok but not so good as VSS. Especially when you have Exchange running on this server.
The standard hot processing driver from third provider such as Acronis will take backup of data as is.
If you use VSS the requester will tell to server applications - stop all iterations, you are going to be imaged. Thus it guarantees data consistency.
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by:1namyln
ID: 40242783
C:\Documents and Settings\Administrator>vssadmin list writers
vssadmin 1.1 - Volume Shadow Copy Service administrative command-line tool
(C) Copyright 2001 Microsoft Corp.

Writer name: 'System Writer'
   Writer Id: {e8132975-6f93-4464-a53e-1050253ae220}
   Writer Instance Id: {020c70f9-8cdc-412c-9f6d-e82b7c2ad392}
   State: [1] Stable
   Last error: No error

Writer name: 'FRS Writer'
   Writer Id: {d76f5a28-3092-4589-ba48-2958fb88ce29}
   Writer Instance Id: {07b2eb36-23e7-4c82-b1a5-481812bff0cc}
   State: [1] Stable
   Last error: No error

Writer name: 'MSDEWriter'
   Writer Id: {f8544ac1-0611-4fa5-b04b-f7ee00b03277}
   Writer Instance Id: {5b4ede57-eb49-460f-9391-4676a4bbab0b}
   State: [1] Stable
   Last error: No error

Writer name: 'Registry Writer'
   Writer Id: {afbab4a2-367d-4d15-a586-71dbb18f8485}
   Writer Instance Id: {34f95981-d44b-4b35-92ae-18853be9365d}
   State: [1] Stable
   Last error: No error

Writer name: 'WMI Writer'
   Writer Id: {a6ad56c2-b509-4e6c-bb19-49d8f43532f0}
   Writer Instance Id: {881dac45-36c8-4f28-b5f5-8085d5f47f6a}
   State: [1] Stable
   Last error: No error

Writer name: 'BITS Writer'
   Writer Id: {4969d978-be47-48b0-b100-f328f07ac1e0}
   Writer Instance Id: {abb7f97f-5764-4605-9369-838987af9e01}
   State: [1] Stable
   Last error: No error

Writer name: 'NTDS'
   Writer Id: {b2014c9e-8711-4c5c-a5a9-3cf384484757}
   Writer Instance Id: {d21498a5-549f-49a5-8e1b-de10796b4da7}
   State: [1] Stable
   Last error: No error

Writer name: 'COM+ REGDB Writer'
   Writer Id: {542da469-d3e1-473c-9f4f-7847f01fc64f}
   Writer Instance Id: {5c1e42ab-df46-4d99-9cd9-8169b27b785b}
   State: [1] Stable
   Last error: No error

Writer name: 'Event Log Writer'
   Writer Id: {eee8c692-67ed-4250-8d86-390603070d00}
   Writer Instance Id: {cd341f35-fa37-4e1d-a5e5-c4befeaf5ad0}
   State: [1] Stable
   Last error: No error

No Exchange server on this device.
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Expert Comment

by:noxcho
ID: 40243085
Can you enable VSS and try to take backup using Windows backup feature? There is NT backup in 2003 yet available. Thus you can localize the problem and narrow it either to Acronis or to VSS.
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Author Comment

by:1namyln
ID: 40247929
I can try but since its been stable since disabled I'm not sure I want to.  Is there any danger in leaving it as is?
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Expert Comment

by:noxcho
ID: 40248111
No danger. Normally the danger would be if you run there Exchange server. But as long as you don't it is ok.
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Assisted Solution

by:pgm554
pgm554 earned 250 total points
ID: 40248912
VSS backups up locked files and I'm not real sure that without it you are getting a complete backup.
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Author Comment

by:1namyln
ID: 40248921
How would I know?
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Expert Comment

by:pgm554
ID: 40249392
That's the problem.
If your AD is locked or if somebody has a word or excel spread sheet open or another db type file,that file does not get backed up,it gets skipped..
VSS was a technology that allowed for a snapshot of an open file that M$ came up with so that 3rd parties didn't have to write their own.

And with an image based restore product ,I would be nervous about the consequences.
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Expert Comment

by:noxcho
ID: 40249595
In Acronis two technologies are used. It does not ignore files. They invented VSS like driver for online backup of the system and then made Acronis VSS requestor for correct applictaions backup. The difference is that standard backup is not aware of server applications and VSS is aware amd makes the databases stop.
The only problem you could have is that changea done between start of backup and its end will not be saved in backup. In case of VSS these changes are either saved in temp files such as lgs in exchange or no changes are allowed by service itself.
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by:1namyln
ID: 40249604
Backups happen daily at 12:00am when no one is accessing the network.
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Author Comment

by:1namyln
ID: 40277423
Went about two weeks with no restarts.  This thing is aging and will be replaced soon.  Unfortunately just going to live with it until its replaced.  Should happen within the next couple weeks.  Thanks for your efforts.
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