VSS – System writer not found in backup windows 2008 std sp2

We’ll discuss about a VSS backup issue on windows 2008 Sp2 virtual machine running on VMware platform

System writer is not found in the backup

Whenever we tried to run system state backup using wbadmin, the system state backup used to fail with the below error

WBADMIN error:
U:\>wbadmin start systemstatebackup -backuptarget:e:
wbadmin 1.0 – Backup command-line tool
(C) Copyright 2004 Microsoft Corp.

Starting System State Backup [5/21/2012 8:21 PM]
Retrieving volume information…

This would backup the system state from volume(s) System(C:),Data(E:) to e:.
Do you want to start the backup operation?
[Y] Yes [N] No y

Creating the shadow copy of volumes requested for backup.

Summary of backup:

Backup of system state failed [5/21/2012 8:22 PM]

Log of files successfully backed up
‘C:\Windows\Logs\WindowsServerBackup\SystemStateBackup 21-05-2012 20-22-43.log’

Log of files for which backup failed
‘C:\Windows\Logs\WindowsServerBackup\SystemStateBackup_Error 21-05-2012 20-22-43

System writer is not found in the backup.

“vssadmin list writers” – all the writers were visible and stable

No errors in application or system event log. Tried procmon to see if any permission issues, no clue found in procmon

Server had symantec backup exec , SQL and IIS installed.

Tried the below article http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2009272, however this didnt worked.

Enabled vss tracing and found below messages in trace log “Error while obtaining an interface interface 0x80004002 HRESULT EXCEPTION CAUGHT: hr: 0x80042308”


Check for any recent changes performed on the server. For example disk expansion, disk drive letter change, patch installation.. etc

After looking few days back we found there was a change performed on the server to change drive letter of the partition on which SQL was installled

During the above change the SQL services were still pointing to old partition and application team had uninstalled SQL manually and the OLD SQL services remained in registry pointing to old partition/drive letter.

We can identify non-present services in system information window — start –> all programs –> accesssories –> system tools –> system information –> Software environment –> services –> sort services by Error control

Reference MS article http://blogs.technet.com/b/askcore/archive/2010/06/18/reasons-why-the-error-enumeration-of-the-files-failed-may-occur-during-system-state-backup.aspx

Now we have identified the non-present services(services which are having invalid path or which doesnt exists at all but remain in registry), next step is to remove the non present services from registry and reboot server, To do this.. regedit –> HKLM –> SYSTEM –> Currentcontrolset –> Services . Identify the service and delete it from registry.

Last step is Remove any third party vss provider installed on server, Our server had symantec backup exec provider which got installed with Symantec backupexec

To remove symantec backup exec provider from registry perform these steps –> regedit –> HKLM –> SYSTEM –> Currentcontrolset –> Services –> vss –> Providers . Remove provider from symantec backup exec.



About asifkhandevadi

Hello, I have been working on windows since 9 years and currently working as windows, VMware and MS clustering SME at IBM. Whenever I get free time I participate in Microsoft forums and write some blogs to enhance my technical and communication skills through knowledge sharing. Please contact me on FB or Linkedin if you need any assistance on troubleshooting, implementation and virtualizaton.
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