How to fix VSSadmin failures for SQL server

Veeam produces an error such as this:

Total VM size: xx GB
Processed size: xx KB
Processing rate: 0 KB/s
Backup mode: SAN/NBD without changed block tracking
Start time: xx/xx/2011 xx:xx:xx
End time: xx/xx/2011 xx:xx:xx
Duration: 0:00:xx


Freezing guest operating system
VSSControl: -21474132123 Backup job failed.
Cannot create a shadow copy of the volumes containing writer's data.
VSS asynchronous operation is not completed. Operation: [Shadow copies commit]. Code: [0x8004231f].

The first thing to check is the disk space on the VM. Often Veeam backups will fail to run if VSS is being used and there is not enough free disk space on the VM. We have found that servers require as much as 2GB. If this is the problem, delete some files or extend the disk volume. If not then proceed below:

Login to the Windows VM guest OS and open a command prompt.
Run the following command:

vssadmin list writers
The output should be something like this:
vssadmin 1.1 - Volume Shadow Copy Service administrative command-line tool
(C) Copyright 2001-2005 Microsoft Corp.
 
Writer name: 'Task Scheduler Writer'
   Writer Id: {d61d61c8-d73a-4eee-8cdd-f6f9786b7124}
   Writer Instance Id: {1bddd48e-5052-49db-9b07-b96f96727e6b}
   State: [1] Stable
   Last error: No error
 
Writer name: 'VSS Metadata Store Writer'
   Writer Id: {75dfb225-e2e4-4d39-9ac9-ffaff65ddf06}
   Writer Instance Id: {088e7a7d-09a8-4cc6-a609-ad90e75ddc93}
   State: [1] Stable
   Last error: No error
 
Writer name: 'Performance Counters Writer'
   Writer Id: {0bada1de-01a9-4625-8278-69e735f39dd2}
   Writer Instance Id: {f0086dda-9efc-47c5-8eb6-a944c3d09381}
   State: [1] Stable
   Last error: No error
 
Writer name: 'SqlServerWriter'
   Writer Id: {a65faa63-5ea8-4ebc-9dbd-a0c4db26912a}
   Writer Instance Id: {cb9d6b77-9771-4bb5-8e5b-ae502aa1af79}
   State: [7] Failed
   Last error: Timed out
 
Writer name: 'ASR Writer'
   Writer Id: {be000cbe-11fe-4426-9c58-531aa6355fc4}
   Writer Instance Id: {f870b063-bc2a-46ee-8c1f-6fdda1730871}
   State: [1] Stable
   Last error: No error
 
Writer name: 'Registry Writer'
   Writer Id: {afbab4a2-367d-4d15-a586-71dbb18f8485}
   Writer Instance Id: {91295c1a-ba11-450c-b0d1-a02c62b70e81}
   State: [1] Stable
   Last error: No error
 
Writer name: 'Shadow Copy Optimization Writer'
   Writer Id: {4dc3bdd4-ab48-4d07-adb0-3bee2926fd7f}
   Writer Instance Id: {47cbcd73-b7fb-4512-ab14-734e6300341c}
   State: [1] Stable
   Last error: No error
 
Writer name: 'COM+ REGDB Writer'
   Writer Id: {542da469-d3e1-473c-9f4f-7847f01fc64f}
   Writer Instance Id: {a6381ac9-2f0b-4ca9-9980-6235dbf397c9}
   State: [1] Stable
   Last error: No error
 
Writer name: 'BITS Writer'
   Writer Id: {4969d978-be47-48b0-b100-f328f07ac1e0}
   Writer Instance Id: {e474ebf6-f565-4129-aa3e-b96d66d749cc}
   State: [1] Stable
   Last error: No error
 
As you can see the SqlServerWriter failed. To rectify this problem either reboot or if you are unable to do so, restart the following services:

net stop SQLWriter

net start SQLWriter


Now when you rerun the command you should find that there are no longer any failures:
C:\Windows\System32>vssadmin list writers
vssadmin 1.1 - Volume Shadow Copy Service administrative command-line tool
(C) Copyright 2001-2005 Microsoft Corp.

Writer name: 'Task Scheduler Writer'
   Writer Id: {d61d61c8-d73a-4eee-8cdd-f6f9786b7124}
   Writer Instance Id: {1bddd48e-5052-49db-9b07-b96f96727e6b}
   State: [1] Stable
   Last error: No error

Writer name: 'VSS Metadata Store Writer'
   Writer Id: {75dfb225-e2e4-4d39-9ac9-ffaff65ddf06}
   Writer Instance Id: {088e7a7d-09a8-4cc6-a609-ad90e75ddc93}
   State: [1] Stable
   Last error: No error

Writer name: 'Performance Counters Writer'
   Writer Id: {0bada1de-01a9-4625-8278-69e735f39dd2}
   Writer Instance Id: {f0086dda-9efc-47c5-8eb6-a944c3d09381}
   State: [1] Stable
   Last error: No error

Writer name: 'SqlServerWriter'
   Writer Id: {a65faa63-5ea8-4ebc-9dbd-a0c4db26912a}
   Writer Instance Id: {f530ab95-e77c-49f4-a7b7-0c5a31d39155}
   State: [1] Stable
   Last error: No error

Writer name: 'ASR Writer'
   Writer Id: {be000cbe-11fe-4426-9c58-531aa6355fc4}
   Writer Instance Id: {335946aa-bca9-493e-952c-df7abcbbb1ee}
   State: [1] Stable
   Last error: No error

Writer name: 'Registry Writer'
   Writer Id: {afbab4a2-367d-4d15-a586-71dbb18f8485}
   Writer Instance Id: {748c6d8c-181d-42c4-b138-799a54648327}
   State: [1] Stable
   Last error: No error

Writer name: 'COM+ REGDB Writer'
   Writer Id: {542da469-d3e1-473c-9f4f-7847f01fc64f}
   Writer Instance Id: {c276af37-e323-48b3-9f56-29c1c47d8e8e}
   State: [1] Stable
   Last error: No error

Writer name: 'Shadow Copy Optimization Writer'
   Writer Id: {4dc3bdd4-ab48-4d07-adb0-3bee2926fd7f}
   Writer Instance Id: {b87fab96-5023-4c6c-ac39-75d80899a408}
   State: [1] Stable
   Last error: No error

These other services could be worth restarting if there are other vss failures:

net stop EventSystem
press y to confirm all other services.

net stop swprv

net stop vss

net stop vmvss

net stop VMTools

net stop VMUpgradeHelper

net stop ReportServer

net stop winmgmt

net stop apphostsvc

net start apphostsvc

net start EventSystem

net start swprv

net start vss

net start vmvss

net start VMTools

net start VMUpgradeHelper

net start ReportServer

net start winmgmt

If this fails, then your only solution is to fully reboot the machine. This works every time, 90% of the time ;)

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