Archive for Backup

SBS 2011, Windows Server Backup, and VSSAdmin List Writers Issue

One of my customers runs a SBS 2011 server with Exchange 2010. I consider it a very clean server. Suddenly, after three years, I had issues with the Windows Server Backup.

Opening the WSB console, I would get the message Reading Data, please wait….

I knew that the first thing I should check was the VSS writers. When I tried to run vssadmin list writers from an admin level command prompt,  I would get the message: Waiting for responses. These may be delayed if a shadow copy is being prepared.

Rebooting the server didn’t help.

I tried the wbadmin delete catalog command, but that didn’t help.

I then found this blog post from which provided instructions for stopping specific services, reregistering VSS related DLL’s, and then restarting service. Eventually this solution worked for me!

Here’s a look at each of the looking at each of these three parts of the solution:

Step 1 – Stop specific services

You can run these commands one at a time from a command line prompt, or put them into a  batch file and run them:

net stop “System Event Notification Service”
net stop “Background Intelligent Transfer Service”
net stop “COM+ Event System”
net stop “Microsoft Software Shadow Copy Provider”
net stop “Volume Shadow Copy”
net stop VSS
net stop SWPRV

Note #1: Stopping the COM+ Event System will also cause several other dependent services to be stopped. Take a note of these dependent services so you can make sure they are restarted later on

Note #2: When I ran these commands, the COM+ Event System service did not successfully stop — it will have a status of  “Stopping…”. But it needs to be successfully stopped for the rest of the solution to work. If this happens to you, here’s how to stop it:

    • Open up another command prompt window
    • Type: sc queryex eventsystem and press Enter
    • Note the associated PID# for this service. Let’s say the PID# is 408
    • Next type:  taskkill /pid 408 /F  and press enter’’

Step 2 – Reregister DLLs

Now copy the following commands into a batch file and run it from the command line

regsvr32 /s ATL.DLL
regsvr32 /s comsvcs.DLL
regsvr32 /s credui.DLL
regsvr32 /s CRYPTNET.DLL
regsvr32 /s CRYPTUI.DLL
regsvr32 /s dhcpqec.DLL
regsvr32 /s dssenh.DLL
regsvr32 /s eapqec.DLL
regsvr32 /s esscli.DLL
regsvr32 /s FastProx.DLL
regsvr32 /s FirewallAPI.DLL
regsvr32 /s kmsvc.DLL
regsvr32 /s lsmproxy.DLL
regsvr32 /s MSCTF.DLL
regsvr32 /s msi.DLL
regsvr32 /s msxml3.DLL
regsvr32 /s ncprov.DLL
regsvr32 /s ole32.DLL
regsvr32 /s OLEACC.DLL
regsvr32 /s OLEAUT32.DLL
regsvr32 /s PROPSYS.DLL
regsvr32 /s QAgent.DLL
regsvr32 /s qagentrt.DLL
regsvr32 /s QUtil.DLL
regsvr32 /s raschap.DLL
regsvr32 /s RASQEC.DLL
regsvr32 /s rastls.DLL
regsvr32 /s repdrvfs.DLL
regsvr32 /s RPCRT4.DLL
regsvr32 /s rsaenh.DLL
regsvr32 /s SHELL32.DLL
regsvr32 /s shsvcs.DLL
regsvr32 /s /i swprv.DLL
regsvr32 /s tschannel.DLL
regsvr32 /s USERENV.DLL
regsvr32 /s vss_ps.DLL
regsvr32 /s wbemcons.DLL
regsvr32 /s wbemcore.DLL
regsvr32 /s wbemess.DLL
regsvr32 /s wbemsvc.DLL
regsvr32 /s WINHTTP.DLL
regsvr32 /s WINTRUST.DLL
regsvr32 /s wmiprvsd.DLL
regsvr32 /s wmisvc.DLL
regsvr32 /s wmiutils.DLL
regsvr32 /s wuaueng.DLL

Step 3 – Scan these DLL’s

Next, we will check the integrity of the following three DLLs

sfc /SCANFILE=%windir%\system32\catsrv.DLL
sfc /SCANFILE=%windir%\system32\catsrvut.DLL
sfc /SCANFILE=%windir%\system32\CLBCatQ.DLL

Step 4 – Restart Services

Finally, let’s restart the services we stopped

net start “COM+ Event System”
net start “System Event Notification Service”
net start “Background Intelligent Transfer Service”
net start “Microsoft Software Shadow Copy Provider”
net start “Volume Shadow Copy”

Step 5 – Rerun VSSADMIN

Go ahead and try to rerun the vssadmin list writers command and see if it works.

StorageCraft Announces TA Investment

I’ve never posted about financial business dealings with vendors before. Home

However, when I read the press release that StorageCraft had signed an agreement to a rather large $$$ investment with a private equity firm, I thought “Good for you!”.


I’ve been a long time (+10 years) user and proponent of StorageCraft for backup and disaster recovery solutions. Their solutions have been reliable and trustworthy. Makes me happy to see that a vendor that I’ve relied on is still successful and moving forward.

That’s all.

SBS and Essentials External Backup Drives Compatibility List

I recently encountered an issue with an external drive connected to a SBS 2011 server. The backup had errored and the issue was with the external drive.

Finally, I was reminded about the Technet blog post on Windows Small Business Server – External Backup Drives Compatibility List. The post has two parts:

  • Guidelines on proper formatting requirements of the external drive, with an explanation of why 512 Bytes sectors are required.
  • List of external drives for a variety of vendors, with a rating table that indicates if it works on the various versions of SBS and Essentials 2012/R2.

The post also documents a simple command that you can use to check the sector size of your external drive. Be sure to do it from an elevated command prompt. The command is:

fsutil fsinfo ntfsinfo X:

Here’s an example of the results:


Single stray .avhd Hyper-V snapshot file exists

I have a client with a Windows 2008R2 Hyper-V parent, and guest VMs. I was preparing to upgrade their Altaro Hyper-V software from version 4 to version 5, when I discovered that there was a single, stray snapshot file (.avhd) for one of the guest VMs. The strange thing is that the Hyper-V console was not showing that any snapshots exist or had been created for this VM.

I did some poking around, and buried in this Microsoft forum post was a response from Pablo which worked perfectly for me. His response is dated January 28, 2014.

Here are the steps he recommended and that I performed (again this was on a 2008 R2 Hyper-V server):

  • Shutdown the VM in question
  • On the right frame of the Hyper-V click on Snapshot and create a new snapshot. You can confirm this by going to the folder where the .avhd file exists, and you should now see a second .avhd file.
  • Return to the Hyper-V console, and from the middle frame, right click on the snapshot and select to delete the snapshot.
  • Over on the right frame you will see a message that a merge is in process.
  • Once the merge is completed, both .avhd files had been automatically removed from the folder location.

Hotfix for Server Essentials Windows Backup


“You cannot restore files and folders from Server Essentials Backup on a Windows-based computer”

Backup fails in Windows Server 2012 Essentials

I have a customer running Windows 2012 R2 Essentials with Windows Server Backup scheduled to do twice daily backups. Recently it started reporting that the backup “Completed with warnings”.


I opened up Event Viewer, and under Application logs, I found this event 547 warning:

“The backup operation that started at {date & time) has encountered errors for the volumes ‘X:’. Log of files not successfully backed up at ‘C:\Windows\Logs\WindowsServerBackup\Backup_Error-{date & time}.log’


So, I go to the specified log folder, and open up the log file and it reports that it could not back up some files – Error [0x80070005] Access Denied.


With this information in hand, I check Microsoft ‘s Support website, and sure enough, I found KB 2747459 that identifies this exact problem and lists two workarounds:  Server backup process fails and “0x80070005” errors are logged in Windows Server 2012 Essentials

I chose to implement option 2 (Registry Edit). Please note that after editing the registry, you will need to reboot the server in order to implement the change.

Here are the steps as outlined in KB 2747459:

  1. In Registry Editor, locate the following registry subkey:


  2. Right-Click FilesNotToBackup, point to New, and then click Multi-String Value
  3. Type IgnoreNTFS, and then press Enter
  4. Right-click IgnoreNTFS, and then click Modify
  5. In the Value data box, type \$Extend\* /s
  6. Click OK, and then close Registry Editor.
  7. Restart the server.


World Backup Day

I just found out that March 31st has been designated as World Backup Day!

Click on the image below to go to the World Backup Day website, and take the pledge to backup your data. And, if you need help doing so, let me know!


Reset WHS Backup Database

I still have several Microsoft Windows Home Servers (WHS) running in some customer offices. Had an issue where the backup database got corrupted, not allowing me to retrieve any backups. I tried many solutions, but none fixed the problem.

So, how do you wipe out the WHS backup database to essentially start clean?

What you will have found out is that there’s not an option for doing this from the WHS console. Yes, you “clean” the database, but that only removes backups older than your declared backup settings. And a “repair” does not do the trick.

So, I dusted off an old post (kudos to Jim Clarke) that will do exactly what we need – reset the current WHS backup database, and free up all the disk space previously used.

  • Use mstsc to login to the WHS Server
  • Open a command prompt (Start –> Run –> cmd)
    Type: net stop PDL
    Type: net stop whsbackup
  • Leave the command window open, as we will need it in a minute
  • Meanwhile, open up Windows Explorer and locate:
  • Delete the contents of that folder – but DO NOT delete the folder itself!
  • Now go back to the command prompt window
    Type: net start whsbackup
    Type net start PDL
  • Jim notes that after doing this you will need to go to each workstation and either reinstall the WHS Connector software or run the Discover.exe program.

And, in case you are wondering, PDL is Microsoft’s Persistent Drive Letter service!

The shared protection point operation failed with error 0x81000101

This is the first time that I’ve seen this error on any Windows server I manage. This is an SBS 2008 server that has been in production for 6 years. The error was associated with a failed Windows backup of this server last night.

Full error message: Creation of the shared protection point timed out. Detailed Error: The shared protection point operation failed with error 0x81000101.


A quick web search led me to this blog post by David J Steele who encountered the same issue. The solution changes the default timeout from 10 minutes to 20 minutes.

Although his process is correct, there is one error in the information he posted. The value for the registry key should be 1200000 (5 zeroes) and not 12000000 (6 zeroes).

Here are the correct instructions:

  • Run regedit.exe on the server
  • Navigate to HKLM –> Software –> Microsoft –> windows NT –> CurrentVersion –> SPP
  • Create a new registry key (type DWORD) with the name “CreateTimeout”
  • Modify the value of the key to decimal 1200000. Be sure to click the radio box for Decimal before entering the value.


Samsung Data Migration and Dell Workstation

I’m working on a new Dell XPS 8700 that was just delivered, with Windows 8.1 pre-installed and a 1TB SATA drive. I ordered a Samsung SSD 850 Pro 500GB drive to use as the system drive. I’ve used the Samsung Data Migration cloning software successfully on a scratch install of Windows 8.1, but this is the first time to try it with Windows 8.1 pre-installed on the computer.

You install the Samsung Data Migration utility onto the computer to the existing hard drive. I then connected the SSD drive to a USB3 port using a USB3 data & power connector.

Note: Do not connect the SSD drive until the Samsung software has been installed.

  • Attempt #1: I ran the Data Migration wizard, and it came back saying that there was an issue with defragging the source disk.
  • Attempt #2: I install Piriform’s Defraggler and did a full defrag (about one hour). I reran the wizard and this time it reported that there was an issue with the source disk. I rebooted the computer and tried again, and received same error.
  • Attempt #3: I then do a sfc /scanow followed by a chkdsk /f c: – both had no issues or errors. I rebooted the computer and tried again. Same issue. I tried plugging the USB3 cable into other ports. Same issue, again.
  • Attempt #4: I then proceed to uninstall all the Dell add-on stuff (data protection, etc.) and then rebooted the computer. Voila! This time when I ran the wizard, we successfully clones the hard drive to the SSD drive.

After powering down the workstation, I unhooked the SATA drive and connected the SSD drive in its place. I powered up the system and it successfully started up Windows 8.1