The Real (and Virtual) Adventures of Nathan the IT Guy

Sep 3 2009   3:40AM GMT

Server 2003 NT Backup not working

Nathan Simon Nathan Simon Profile: Nathan Simon

I ran into this recently where I could not create a normal backup or system state backup. Upon troubleshooting i would go to a command prompt and type “vssadmin list writers” and it would come up blank…

Well following some instructions from Microsoft’s website I managed to get it back up and running.

1. Click Start, click Run, type Regedit, and then click OK.

2. Locate and then click the following registry subkey:

3. On the Edit menu, click Delete, and then click Yes to confirm that you want to delete the subkey. Dont worry you won’t harm anything. Now we need to check the services responsible for Volume Shadow Copy Services.

4. Click Start, click Run, type services.msc, and then click OK.

5. Right-click the following services one at a time. For each service, click Restart:
– COM+ Event System
– COM+ System Application
– Microsoft Software Shadow Copy Provider
– Volume Shadow Copy

If any of these services are stopped, set them to automatic and start them, this is important.

6. At the command prompt, type vssadmin list writers, and then press ENTER. If the writes show up, your done, if not there is one more set of things to do.

8. If the VSS writers are now listed, close the Command Prompt window. You do not have to complete the remaining steps.

If the VSS writers are not listed, type the following commands at the command prompt. Press ENTER after each command. I would recommend copying and pasting into notepad and saving it as a batch file, makes it a little easier…

cd /d %windir%\system32
net stop vss
net stop swprv
regsvr32 ole32.dll
regsvr32 oleaut32.dll
regsvr32 /i eventcls.dll
regsvr32 vss_ps.dll
vssvc /register
regsvr32 /i swprv.dll
regsvr32 es.dll
regsvr32 stdprov.dll
regsvr32 vssui.dll
regsvr32 msxml.dll
regsvr32 msxml3.dll
regsvr32 msxml4.dll

Note The last command may not run successfully.

9. At the command prompt, type vssadmin list writers, and then press ENTER.

10. Confirm that the VSS writers are now listed. After this you should now be able to start NT Backup and backup all the files and system states you want! 🙂


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  • DamithB works for me with w2003 server....
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