Category: VSS

When VSS Writers Fail
article #1304, updated 71 days ago

A good thing to do, is to do cleanup/improvement steps, and then restart related services:

VSS Writer Service, Short ID & Binary Service, Long Name
ASR Writer VSS Volume Shadow Copy
BITS Writer BITS Background Intelligent Transfer Service
COM+ REGDB Writer VSS Volume Shadow Copy
DFS Replication Service Writer DFSR DFS Replication
DHCP Jet Writer DHCPServer DHCP Server
FRS Writer NtFrs File Replication
FRSM Writer srmsvc File Server Resource Manager
IIS Config Writer AppHostSvc Application Host Helper Service
IIS Metabase Writer IISADMIN IIS Admin Service
Microsoft Exchange Replica Writer MSExchangeRepl Microsoft Exchange Replication Service
Microsoft Exchange Writer MSExchangeIS Microsoft Exchange Information Store
Microsoft Hyper-V VSS Writer vmms Hyper-V Virtual Machine Management
MSMQ Writer MSMQ Message Queuing
MSSearch Service Writer WSearch Windows Search
NTDS NTDS Active Directory Domain Services
O_Search VSS Writer OSearch Office SharePoint Server Search
O_Search 14 VSS Writer OSearch14 SharePoint Server Search 14
Registry Writer VSS Volume Shadow Copy
Shadow Copy Optimization Writer VSS Volume Shadow Copy
SMS Writer SMSSITEVSSWRITER SMS_SITE_VSS_WRITER
SPSearch VSS Writer SPSearch Windows SharePoint Services Search
SPSearch4 VSS Writer SPSearch4 SharePoint Foundation Search V4
SqlServerWriter SQLWriter SQL Server VSS Writer
System Writer CryptSvc Cryptographic Services
TermServLicensing TermServLicensing Remote Desktop Licensing
WIDWriter WIDWriter Windows Internal Database VSS Writer
WINS Jet Writer WINS Windows Internet Name Service (WINS)
WMI Writer Winmgmt Windows Management Instrumentation

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Windows Performance through VSS Cleanup and Preassociation
article #1004, updated 432 days ago

These steps can improve Windows performance a whole lot. It works because a vast array of different applications and services in Windows utilize VSS on their backends. All of the below, except for one server-only step sometimes needed, is encapsulated in PowerShell script (3.0 and up) OVSS.ps1 , part of the windows-tools project.

To do the VSS optimization interactively, start an administrative CMD, and then…

Step 1:

vssadmin Delete Shadows /All

If there are orphan shadows, you will be asked whether you want to delete them. If there are and you delete them, you will see immediate performance benefit. Reportedly, Windows autodeletes them only after there are 64 per volume. We prefer to see zero! These build up as a result of bad shutdowns, drive and drive controller issues, and insufficient RAID resources to serve demands.

Step 2:

We now improve any existing preassociation of disk space for VSS. On some machines, this will increase performance very impressively, immediately. In general it keeps them smooth and stable and prevents hesitations. This does not reserve or take up the space, it just “associates” it, makes it ready for use, so that whenever Windows wants to do any of the bajillions of things it does with VSS, things ranging from tiny to enormous, it can skip that step.

It is worthwhile to know that C: on all workstation installs and many server installs, has a minimal preassociation already set up. And we should check to see if it has been done. So the first step is to check it. Do the below:

vssadmin list shadowstorage

If it gives you something like this:

vssadmin 1.1 - Volume Shadow Copy Service administrative command-line tool
(C) Copyright 2001-2013 Microsoft Corp.

Shadow Copy Storage association
   For volume: (\\?\Volume{84214e3c-0000-0000-0000-100000000000}\)\\?\Volume{84214e3c-0000-0000-0000-100000000000}\
   Shadow Copy Storage volume: (\\?\Volume{84214e3c-0000-0000-0000-100000000000}\)\\?\Volume{84214e3c-0000-0000-0000-100000000000}\
   Used Shadow Copy Storage space: 0 bytes (0%)
   Allocated Shadow Copy Storage space: 0 bytes (0%)
   Maximum Shadow Copy Storage space: 100 MB (20%)

Shadow Copy Storage association
   For volume: (C:)\\?\Volume{84214e3c-0000-0000-0000-501f00000000}\
   Shadow Copy Storage volume: (C:)\\?\Volume{84214e3c-0000-0000-0000-501f00000000}\
   Used Shadow Copy Storage space: 0 bytes (0%)
   Allocated Shadow Copy Storage space: 0 bytes (0%)
   Maximum Shadow Copy Storage space: 373 GB (20%)

where “Maximum Shadow Copy Storage space: “ for each volume is set to 20%, the rest has been done, you are fully optimized. Otherwise, if this is a desktop OS, we resize the existing association for each volume. For volumes without letters, and to pull a list of all VSS-ready volumes, see the note towards the end of this document.

So for the C drive, do the below in administrative CMD:

vssadmin Resize ShadowStorage /For=C: /On=C: /MaxSize=20%

Do repeat for any other active hard drive partitions, D:, E:, et cetera. Don’t worry if you get an error, the next step covers it.

Step 3:

It may well throw an error, saying there is no such association. If this is a workstation OS, vssadmin lacks two commands which we need for any further steps, so in that case we are done. But on any Windows Server OS from 2008R2, if the error was thrown, we do an Add:

vssadmin Add ShadowStorage /For=E: /On=E: /MaxSize=20%

Step 4:

And finally (server only), one more thing which can help if, for instance, C: is almost full but E: has plenty of space:

vssadmin Delete ShadowStorage /For=C: /On=C:
vssadmin Add ShadowStorage /For=C: /On=E: /MaxSize=20%

This maximizes overall performance, and also prevents possible backup failures and other issues due to insufficient disk space on C:.

Note:

On some machines, the volumes do not have letters. For these you will need to use the volume GUID path. In vssadmin list shadowstorage, they look like this:

Shadow Copy Storage association
   For volume: (\\?\Volume{99ac05c7-c06b-11e0-b883-806e6f6e6963}\)\\?\Volume{99a
c05c7-c06b-11e0-b883-806e6f6e6963}\
   Shadow Copy Storage volume: (\\?\Volume{99ac05c7-c06b-11e0-b883-806e6f6e6963}
\)\\?\Volume{99ac05c7-c06b-11e0-b883-806e6f6e6963}\
   Used Shadow Copy Storage space: 0 B (0%)
   Allocated Shadow Copy Storage space: 0 B (0%)
   Maximum Shadow Copy Storage space: 32 MB (32%)

For such a situation, substitute \\?\Volume{99ac05c8-c06b-11e0-b883-806e6f6e6963} (the whole long string) for C: in the above command lines.

PowerShell will give GUI paths for all volumes thusly:

GWMI -namespace root\cimv2 -class win32_volume

References are here:

https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc788050.aspx

https://www.storagecraft.com/support/kb/article/289

http://backupchain.com/i/how-to-delete-all-vss-shadows-and-orphaned-shadows

http://www.tech-no.org/?p=898

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Download DevNodeClean for further VSS cleanup
article #1156, updated 534 days ago

‘vssadmin delete shadows /all’ gets a lot of gunk out, but DevNodeClean:

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/confirmation.aspx?id=42286

eliminates related registry entries, including Device Manager grayed-out items, for even more improvement. This has existed for a while, but not available in public download very long.

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Browse shadow copies (VSS)!
article #747, updated 705 days ago

From the amazing Matt Quick:

http://www.shadowexplorer.com/

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Troubleshooting and Fixing Windows VSS
article #274, updated 1056 days ago

Some very interesting info:

https://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/windowsserver/en-US/1b926c85-b866-464b-9590-70506ba9d8ce/vss-issue-event-id-22-12289-12293-error-0×8004230f-failed-to-retrieve-volumes-that-are-eligible?forum=windowsbackup

https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/bb891959#mindiffareafilesize

Here are some steps and info:

http://www.storagecraft.com/support/kb/article/32

Here is a Fix-It from Microsoft for Server 2003, which runs quite a few steps automatically, and does not (this is new) necessarily require a reboot:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/940184

And lastly, here is a patch from Microsoft which can help a lot in Server 2003, even on fully-updated machines:

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;891957

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VSS for Linux
article #363, updated 2835 days ago

Here is a product, free for commercial and non-profit use, which does the job of VSS under Linux:

http://www.r1soft.com/tools/linux-hot-copy/

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Windows Backup on Server 2008
article #319, updated 2961 days ago

Windows Backup on Server 2008, is very different than previous backup tools provided by Microsoft. It is block-level, meaning that it handles only whole volumes (drives) at once. But it works very well, it has much lower impact on resources. It uses VSS as its basis.

Data difficult to identify, but useful for setting up monitoring, follow.

Service name: Block Level Backup Engine Service
Executable (on 32-bit, default): “C:\Windows\system32\wbengine.exe”
Command-line utility (runs from elevated CMD): wbadmin

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Free file synchronizer with VSS
article #212, updated 2995 days ago

Here is a very good file synchronizer, free of charge to all, which does Volume Shadow Copy for locked files:

http://freefilesync.sourceforge.net/index.php

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VSS Resources Errors on Windows Server 2003
article #310, updated 2995 days ago

This page has lots of good steps to take:

http://www.storagecraft.com/kb/questions.php?questionid=244

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