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Client Backup Problems - VSS Issues & solution

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I just built and setup my server a week ago. One of my primary reasons for getting the server was to backup two laptops and two desktop computers in my home. I had no issues with backing up the laptops (one with WinXP Pro SP2, the other with WinXP MCE SP3). However, I had back up issues with the two desktop machines. Both are running Win XP Home SP3. Both had Volume Shadow Service (VSS) issues, given as a cyptic 0x8000FFFF error. I spent about 3 evenings researching VSS issues. It seems to be a common enough problem, but no specific fixes were in any of the WHS sites/forums. I finally resolved the issue and thought I'd write up the fix to help others. Note that the solution does require registry edits on your client computer.

1. Click Start, click Run, type cmd, and then click OK.This brings up a command prompt window.

2. At the command line type vssadmin list writers, then press enter.If you get an 0x8000FFFF error or other error, proceed with the rest of this solution.

3. Next, make sure the correct services are running. Click Start, Control Panel, Administrative Tools, Component Services. In the Component Services window, click Services (local) and you'll get a list of the services on the client computer.

4.For each of the following services check that the start up type is set to manual. This can be changed in the properties if it is not. Then, right-click the following services one at a time. For each service, click Restart:
• COM+ Event System
• COM+ System Application
• Distributed Transactions Coordinator
• Microsoft Software Shadow Copy Provider
• Volume Shadow Copy

5. Next, we'll check if there are any errors with the VSS services. In the Component Services window, click Event Viewer (local), Application. Look for errors with VSS under the Source column. I had two:

Event ID 5013
Volume Shadow Copy Service error: Shadow Copy writer ContentIndexingService called routine RegQueryValueExW which failed with status 0x80070002 (converted to 0x800423f4).

Event ID 12302
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.

6. Look up the error at support.microsoft.com. The 0x80070002 error, directed me to Article ID 907574. On my client computers, the default registry subkeys were not set correctly. I edited the registry exactly as directed in this article.

7. Look up the 0x8000FFFF error. This takes you to Article ID 940184. My procedures differs a little bit from this article. First, follow steps 1 - 4 to edit the registry.

8. Reboot the computer.

9. Bring up a command prompt window again - Click Start, click Run, type cmd, and then click OK. Type the following list of commands to register the VSS dll's.

• cd /d %windir%\system32
• net stop vss
• net stop swprv
• regsvr32 ole32.dll
• regsvr32 oleaut32.dll
• regsvr32 vss_ps.dll
• vssvc /register
• regsvr32 /i swprv.dll
• regsvr32 /i eventcls.dll
• regsvr32 es.dll
• regsvr32 stdprov.dll
• regsvr32 msxml.dll
• regsvr32 msxml3.dll
• regsvr32 msxml4.dll

10. At the command prompt, type vssadmin list writers, and then press ENTER. You should see of the Writer names, Id, Instance ID and state. If you get this, your VSS problems should not be solved, the VSS service should be running and you should be able to back up the client computer to your WHS.


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Sam Wood

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Very detailed, thanks Scott. Looks like a candidate for the wiki :)

Tom Steuver

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My VSS errors are different and I can't find anything in Microsoft's support site to correct them:

Event ID: 12289
Volume Shadow Copy Service error: Unexpected error CreateFileW(\\?
806d6172696f},0xc0000000,0x00000003,...). hr = 0x80070005

Event ID: 5013
Volume Shadow Copy Service error: Shadow Copy writer
RemoveableStorageManager called routing OpenNtmsSessionW which
failed with status 0x80070015 (converted to 0x800423f3).

Also, when I enter "vssadmin list writers", all writers are stable except for:

Writer name: 'WMI Writer'
Writer Id: {a6ad56c2-b509-4e6c-bb19-49d8f43532f0}
Write Instance ID: {02f38fb4-1d59-4353-b2ec-9e532ecfb4ae}
State: [7] Failed

I haven't been able to get a working backup of this system in two weeks. All my other systems backup fine. I can't find anything that will correct my problem. It is a Windows XP Professional SP3 client system.




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Thanks for the detailed information.

Some of my services were set to 'Automatic' and not 'manual' so I'm not sure how critical this is.


The service "Microsoft Software Shadow Copy Provider" does not exist in my Services Window so I was not able to check if it was set to 'Manual'.

I'm running XP SP3 so should this service exist?

Many thanks,



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The service "Microsoft Software Shadow Copy Provider" does not exist in my Services Window so I was not able to check if it was set to 'Manual'.

I'm running XP SP3 so should this service exist?

Continuous updates from original XP culminating to XP3 here, and it exists.

Running services.msc I find:
MS Software Shadow Copy Provider (Manual) (C:\WINDOWS\System32\dllhost.exe /Processid:{4FDADADC-1592-45AA-909D-CA8297BB84D0})
Volume Shadow Copy (Manual) (C:\WINDOWS\System32\vssvc.exe)





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A tip of the hat to Scottr for the most complete version of how to clean up the problem that can happen with XP systems and WHS backup. I had no problem with this system until I connected it to a WHS 2011 replacing a WHS v1 server. The backup got to 1% and failed. I found a number of sources that covered various pieces of the puzzle, but only Scottr's version mentioned the event viewer in Component Services. I had the same two errors Scottr reported, and cleaned them up by deleting a single registry subkey relating to Microsoft Visio, an application I uninstalled years ago. I left intact another one relating to an application designated as "System" in the subkey, thinking I needn't be too hasty about deleting things entitled "System." Sure enough, it was this little piece of nothing left over from Visio that was causing WHS 2011 to be incapable of backing up my XP system! Finally, "vssadmin list writers" produced a neat list of vss "writers." Don't ask me what any of this means. Many hours down the tube, but all is now working. And I owe my solution to Scottr taking the time to post back in '08.

Let me put in a plug for everyone to support this website by buying a copy of one of the e-books!

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