Category: VSS

Windows Performance through VSS Cleanup and Preassociation
article #1004, updated 155 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

Categories:   VSS   Performance

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Download DevNodeClean for further VSS cleanup
article #1156, updated 257 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.

Categories:   VSS   

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Browse shadow copies (VSS)!
article #747, updated 428 days ago

From the amazing Matt Quick:

http://www.shadowexplorer.com/

Categories:   VSS   Tools

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Troubleshooting and Fixing Windows VSS
article #274, updated 779 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

Categories:   VSS   Windows OS-Level Issues

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VSS for Linux
article #363, updated 2558 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/

Categories:   VSS   Linux OS-level Issues

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Windows Backup on Server 2008
article #319, updated 2684 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

Categories:   Backup   VSS

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Free file synchronizer with VSS
article #212, updated 2719 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

Categories:   Backup   VSS

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VSS Resources Errors on Windows Server 2003
article #310, updated 2719 days ago

This page has lots of good steps to take:

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

Categories:   VSS   Backup