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VSS Writer Failed / How to Restart and Re-Register VSS Writers


VSS writers can fail for various reasons, such as two or more resources trying to use the writer at the same time. When you run vssadmin list writers in a command prompt with admin rights, you might see one of the writers in a failed state, as shown below:

vssadmin list writers

Writer name: 'Microsoft Hyper-V VSS Writer'
   Writer Id: {66841cd4-6ded-4f4b-8f17-fd23f8ddc3de}
   Writer Instance Id: {c35d6ab0-9588-412f-ae7b-cdc37534501f}
   State: [8] Failed
   Last error: Retryable error


  1. On the Windows server in question, open a command prompt with administrative rights and run the command
    vssadmin info
    vssadmin list writers
  2. Check the writers that have failed.  
  3. You can use the list below to find the service that corresponds to the VSS Writer in question.  Restart the corresponding windows services for the writers that are down.
  4. Use the vssadmin list writers command again to show if the vss writer is now in a stable state.  
  5. If the vss writer remains in a failed state, you will need to re-register the writers.


VSS Writer Service Name Related Service To Restart
ASR Writer VSS Volume Shadow Copy
BITS Writer BITS Background Intelligent Transfer Service
Certificate Authority CertSvc Active Directory Certificate Services
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
FSRM 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) MSMQ Message Queuing
MSSearch Service Writer WSearch Windows Search
NPS VSS Writer EventSystem COM+ Event System
NTDS NTDS Active Directory Domain Services
(also restarts DFS Replication)
OSearch VSS Writer OSearch Office SharePoint Server Search
OSearch14 VSS Writer OSearch14 SharePoint Server Search 14
Registry Writer VSS Volume Shadow Copy
Shadow Copy Optimization Writer VSS Volume Shadow Copy
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
WDS VSS Writer WDSServer Windows Deployment Services Server
WIDWriter WIDWriter Windows Internal Database VSS Writer
WINS Jet Writer WINS Windows Internet Name Service (WINS)
WMI Writer Winmgmt Windows Management Instrumentation


This KB contains some additional steps to follow from Technet and other related Microsoft VSS subsites.



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