Need help to restart VSS writers for your Datto? It’s easy

by | Nov 9, 2015 | Business Continuity, Cloud & Hosting

How to restart VSS writers for your Datto

There are instances when your Datto backups are failing due to the production server’s VSS writers being in a failed state but it is impossible or not desirable to restart the server until at least after business hours. The VSS writers may be in a failed state for many different reasons, but usually down to a conflict between the Datto ShadowSnap agent other programs trying to use VSS at the same time. Once they are in a failed state, often times it is necessary to restart the server. To resolve issues caused by a bad state, the system must be cleaned up before backups will function properly. Read this and learn how to how to restart VSS writers for your Datto.

An alternative solution to restarting the production server is to restart each of the associated services for each of the VSS writers showing up in a failed state by following the steps below:

  • Find each of the VSS writers that are in a failed state by issuing this command in an elevated command prompt – vssadmin list writers.
  • Make a list of all the failed VSS writers or take a screenshot.
  • Find the failed VSS writer’s associated Service Display Name in the table below. In services.msc on the target machine, stop the VSS writers which have failed.
  • Open task manager and hard kill the process for the failed VSS writers/services.
  • Return to services.msc and restart the stopped VSS writers from above.
  • In the command prompt, issue the command again to confirm the status has changed Stable with no error – vssadmin list writers.
  • On the Datto, repair the agent communications again for that agent. And then take another backup.
  • If the VSS writers fail again, it will be necessary to restart the server.
VSS WriterService NameService Display Name
ASR WriterVSSVolume Shadow Copy
BITS WriterBITSBackground Intelligent Transfer Service
COM+ REGDB WriterVSSVolume Shadow Copy
DFS Replication service writerDFSRDFS Replication
DHCP Jet WriterDHCPServerDHCP Server
FRS WriterNtFrsFile Replication
FSRM writersrmsvcFile Server Resource Manager
IIS Config WriterAppHostSvcApplication Host Helper Service
IIS Metabase WriterIISADMINIIS Admin Service
Microsoft Exchange WriterMSExchangeISMicrosoft Exchange Information Store
Microsoft Hyper-V VSS WritervmmsHyper-V Virtual Machine Management
NTDSNTDSActive Directory Domain Services
OSearch VSS WriterOSearchOffice SharePoint Server Search
OSearch14 VSS WriterOSearch14SharePoint Server Search 14
Registry WriterVSSVolume Shadow Copy
Shadow Copy Optimization WriterVSSVolume Shadow Copy
SPSearch VSS WriterSPSearchWindows SharePoint Services Search
SPSearch4 VSS WriterSPSearch4SharePoint Foundation Search V4
SqlServerWriterSQLWriterSQL Server VSS Writer
System WriterCryptSvcCryptographic Services
TermServLicensingTermServLicensingRemote Desktop Licensing
WINS Jet WriterWINSWindows Internet Name Service (WINS)
WMI WriterWinmgmtWindows Management Instrumentation
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Following the steps listed above should clean the system up enough for you to start using Datto ShadowSnap. Proper VSS interaction is complex and many backup products leave various components (especially VSS writers) in bad states. This can cause problems for other backup products. If you are using any other backup products, it’s very likely that they will corrupt the states of various VSS components. You must always ensure that Datto ShadowSnap does not run at the same time as other backup software such as Backup Exec, Acronis, etc.

We hope this helped walk you through a restart VSS writers for your Datto. If you have questions, contact us today for more assistance.

Dale Shulmistra is a Business Continuity Specialist at Invenio IT, responsible for shaping the company’s technology initiatives -- selecting, designing, implementing & supporting business continuity solutions to bolster client operational efficiencies and eliminate downtime.

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