The Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) Error Troubleshooting Guide
Nothing works 100% of the time, and the Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) is just one example. While the capabilities of this backup tool are robust, the complexity of the infrastructure often leads to frustrating, time-consuming, and costly errors. Axcient created an alphabetical overview of assorted VSS error codes, potential root causes, possible fixes, and steps to avoid future errors in an easy-to-understand VSS Troubleshooting Guide to accelerate resolution time.
Table of Contents
Keep scrolling to…
- Get the comprehensive VSS Troubleshooting Guide with a downloadable PDF for fast access.
- Understand what causes VSS errors and why they are unavoidable.
- Resolve VSS errors in the x360Recover agent in just three steps.
Just Give Me the VSS Error Troubleshooting Guide!
We get it. Time is precious. If you’re already familiar with the intricacies of the Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) and are ready to put these resolutions into practice, here’s what you want:
Now, for anyone new to the Microsoft VSS, let’s dive in…
What is the Microsoft VSS?
The Microsoft VSS is a standard Windows service built into Windows to support secure backup of open files. VSS allows users to take a snapshot of a volume of data – a.k.a. a shadow copy – so that backups back up from the point of the unchanging snapshot instead of the constantly changing volume. The result is a consistent shadow copy for rapid and reliable disaster recovery.
How Does the Microsoft VSS Operate?
The VSS has three interdependent parts that work in tandem:
- VSS Providers create and maintain the shadow copies. Windows includes a default provider authored by Microsoft that uses copy-on-write. It works with any size volume as long as at least one volume in the system is formatted with NTFS. NAS and DAS devices may provide their own hardware-based VSS provider.
- VSS Writers ensure backup data is ready for shadow copy creation using VSS-compatible server applications. Cached data is flushed to disk before the snapshot is taken for high-quality and consistent data. VSS errors are often caused by an application-specific writer failure outside the backup application’s control.
- VSS Requestors are the applications that need to make, release, and use snapshots – typically a backup application.
What Does the VSS Have to Do With x360Recover?
The Microsoft VSS is a standard Windows service and, thus, an unavoidable component of backup management. The Microsoft VSS is not installed by x360Recover, so the x360Recover agent and x360Recover backups cannot cause the VSS to fail. Because x360Recover is simply using the VSS, backup failures pointing to VSS are caused by other software or system configuration problems that will affect every program using the VSS.
To summarize, VSS errors are not caused by x360Recover. However, we are here to help!
Why Should MSPs Use Axcient’s VSS Troubleshooting Guide?
Unfortunately, VSS errors can occur frequently, and there are many possible error codes for technicians to decipher. Beyond fixing the immediate error, technicians must also understand what caused it and how to prevent it from happening again. While some MSPs dedicate specific technical resources just for managing VSS errors, this strategy is extremely expensive in terms of labor, technical debt, and inefficiency.
Axcient removes the mysteries of VSS errors to empower technicians of various skill levels to fix the present error and prevent it from happening again. Within the VSS Troubleshooting Guide, located in the VSS issues section of the Axcient Knowledgebase, you’ll find the following resources:
- Diagnosing Failures and Problem Resolution in 3 Steps
- x360Recover VSS Errors: Causes, Fixes, and Prevention – including almost 50 error codes.
- x360Recover Technical FAQs with step-by-step resolutions for VSS issues caused by VSS Writers, unwanted VSS Providers, and Windows Event Logs.
Of course, in addition to these digital resources, Axcient Partner Support is available 24/7/365.
About the Author: Carissa Johnson // Product Marketing Manager, Axcient
Carissa Kohn-Johnson has a background in healthcare technology and information technology, and is now the Product Marketing Manager for Axcient. She has a lot of MSP Channel experience from planning and attending hundreds of conferences and tradeshows, and found her passion in IT. Carissa is also an elected official in Cary NC, a town chock full of technology-forward people. Connect with her on LinkedIn – perhaps you can contribute to the Axcient blog?