The Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS), part of Microsoft Windows, provides a mechanism to create consistent point-in-time copies of hard-drives and is used by backup applications such as GFI Backup.

Further information on how VSS works can be found at the following link:
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc785914.aspx

VSS is quite fragile and many times the service just stops working; when that happens there could be many problems. We tried to gather all scenarios in  this article to help you out.

Check for Windows Updates

Check that you have installed the latest Windows Updates. If you are running Microsoft Windows Server 2003 there are few updates for VSS that you should install:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/891957
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/833167
http://support.microsoft.com/?id=826936

Check that the required services are running correctly

  1. Open the ‘Control Panel’ and select ‘Administrative Tools’
  2. Open ‘Services’
  3. Perform the following Changes:
  • Scroll down to the item ‘COM+ Event System’ and double-click on it
  • Change the startup type to ‘Manual’, click ‘Start’ to check if it can start properly, then click ‘OK’
  • Scroll down to the item ‘COM+ System Application and double-click on it
  • Change the startup type to ‘Manual’, click ‘Start’ to check if it can start properly, then click ‘OK’
  • Scroll down to the item ‘Remote Procedure Call (RPC)’ and double-click on it
  • Change the startup type to ‘Automatic’, click ‘Start’ to check if it can start properly, then click ‘OK’ (note that this may not be possible if Microsoft Windows Vista is being used)
  • Scroll down to the item ‘System Event Notification’ and double-click on it
  • Change the startup type to ‘Automatic’, click ‘Start’ to check if it can start properly, then click ‘OK’
  • Scroll to the item ‘MS Software Shadow Copy Provider’ (or ‘Microsoft Software Shadow Copy Provider’ if you have Windows Vista installed) and double-click on it
  • Change the startup type to ‘Automatic’, click ‘Start’ to check if it can start properly, then click ‘OK’
  • Scroll down to the item ‘Volume Shadow Copy’ and double-click on it.
  • Change the startup type to ‘Manual’ or ‘Automatic’, click ‘Start’ to check if it can start properly, then click ‘OK’

Restart your computer and see if open files are backed up properly.

Re-register VSS files

Perform the following procedure to ensure that all VSS related components are correctly registered:

  1. Click on ‘Start’ and select ‘Run’
  2. Type in the following command ‘cmd’ and press ‘OK’
  3. Type in the following command ‘vssadmin list writers’ in command prompt.
    – After performing the command above, the output should show a list of writers and their status. They should all be reported as ‘Stable’ (you may need to scroll up to see the entire list).
    – If some aren’t listed as stable or you receive an error, then there is a problem with your Windows installation and you will need to re-register the VSS DLL’s.
  4. In the same command prompt window, type the following command: ‘vssadmin list providers’

This should list at least one item (MS Software Shadow Copy provider). If none are listed then there is a problem with your Windows installation and you need to re-register the VSS DLLs.

To re-register VSS DLLs and providers, download the following batch file to your desktop then run it as an Administrator (if you’re using Windows Vista then right-click on the batch file and select Run as administrator from the pop-up menu): http://ftp.gfisoftware.com/support/fix-vss-reg.zip

Registry Settings

This step implies changing Windows Registry settings. Be very careful when editing the Windows Registry as it can render your system unusable.

  1. Click ‘Start’ and select ‘Run’
  2. Type in the command ‘regedit’ and press enter.
  3. Navigate to the key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\Setup
    – If the value SystemSetupInProgress is set to anything other than zero then double-click it and set it to 0
    – If there is a value called UpgradeInProgress and it is set to anything other than zero, then double-click it and set it to 0
  4. Exit the registry editor, restart your computer.

Check the Microsoft Windows Event Log

You should also check the Windows Event Log to see if there are any errors related to VSS. You can access the Windows Event Log by performing the following:

  1. Open the ‘Control Panel’ and access ‘Administrative Tools’
  2. Click on the ‘Event Viewer’
    Event ID: 5013 

In some situations, Visio, which is part of Microsoft Office 2003, can cause VSS to fail. You should see the following entry in your Event log:

Event Type: Error
Event Source: VSS
Event Category: None
Event ID: 5013
Description:
Volume Shadow Copy Service error: Shadow Copy writer ContentIndexingService called routine VsServiceChangeState
which failed with status 0x8007041d (converted to 0x800423f4).

If this is the cause then:

  1. Click ‘Start’ and select ‘Run’
  2. Type in the command ‘regedit’ and press enter
  3. Delete the following key:�
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\ContentIndex\Catalogs\Visio 
  4. Exit the registry editor, restart your computer.

Should the problem persist once performing the above, you may want to try disabling the Indexing Service in Windows (this does not apply to Windows Vista). To do this:

  1. Open the ‘Control Panel’
  2. Double-click the Administrative Tools icon (you must be in Classic View mode)
  3. Double-click the Services icon
  4. Double click on the ‘Indexing Service’
  5. Change the startup type to ‘Manual’, and click ‘Stop’, then click ‘OK’
    Event ID: 5013 and Event ID: 12302
    Event Type: Error
    Event Source: VSS
    Event Category: None
    Event ID: 5013
    Date: 8/19/2005
    Time: 10:38:14 PM
    User: N/A
    Computer: ComputerName
    Description: Volume Shadow Copy Service error: Shadow Copy writer ContentIndexingService called routine RegQueryValueExW which failed with status 0x80070002 (converted to 0x800423f4).

For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp

Data: 0000: 57 53 48 43 4f 4d 4e 43 WSHCOMNC 0008: 32 32 39 32 00 00 00 00 2292…. 0010: 57 53 48 43 49 43 00 00 WSHCIC.. 0018: 32 38 37 00 00 00 00 00 287…..

Event Type: Error
Event Source: VSS
Event Category: None
Event ID: 12302
Date: 8/19/2005
Time: 10:38:14 PM
User: N/A
Computer: ComputerName
Description: 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.

For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp

Should you find either of the events above, please visit the Microsoft TechCenter for further information.

COM+ Issues

Note: This does not apply to Windows Vista.

Ensure that COM+ is configured correctly:

  1. Open the Control Panel, double-click the Administrative Tools icon, and double-click Component Services.
  2. Ensure that the VSSW.VSSoftwareProvider.1 is found at the following path:Component Services > Computers > My Computer > COM+ Applications > MS Software Shadow Copy Provider > Components > VSSW.VSSoftwareProvider.1

If the component VSSW.VSSoftwareProvider.1 is not found at the appropriate path, then perform the following:

  1. Right-click on the ‘Components’ item at the following path and select ‘New’ > ‘Component’ from the pop-up menu:
    Component Services > Computers > My Computer > COM+ Applications > MS Software Shadow Copy Provider > Components
  2. Click ‘Next’ and then click the ‘Install Components that are already registered’ button.
  3. Select ‘VSSW.VSSoftwareProvider.1’ from the list that appears and click ‘Next’

Note: If you cannot see ‘VSSW.VSSoftwareProvider.1’ in the list, then click ‘Cancel’ and perform the following:

  1. Right-click on the ‘Components’ item at the following path and select ‘New’ > ‘Component’ from the pop-up menu:
    Component Services > Computers > My Computer > COM+ Applications > MS Software Shadow Copy Provider > Components
  2. Click on ‘Install new component(s)’ button.
  3. Select the file C:\Windows\System32\swprv.dll and click ‘OK’ and then click ‘Next’.
  4. Restart your computers in order for changes to take effect.

Further COM+ Issues.

Note: This does not apply to Windows Vista.

The COM+ catalog might be damaged, follow the instructions on this following Microsoft Article to try and fix the issue: http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;315296

Restart your computer and try again.

Sqllib error

If you see the error Sqllib error: Failed to create VDS object. hr = 0x80040154 in your Application Event Log then please see the following Microsoft article: http://support.microsoft.com/?id=830575