Disabling specific VSS writers with VMware Tools


Disabling specific VSS writers with VMware Tools



To keep vProtect backups from affecting application backups (SQL, exchange, etc).

Applies To

Windows 2003 and newer


Application SQL differential fails with error message “Another application has backed up your SQL database, please run full again prior to differential backup.



Disabling specific VSS writers with VMware Tools

Details With vSphere 4.0, VMware introduced the ability to disable specificVSS writers for the benefit of troubleshooting a specific VSS writer issue.

If you experience an issue backing up a specific virtual machine using snapshot technology and you have identified an issue with a specific VSS writer within the virtual machine, this article explains how to disable that VSS writer from being called during a snapshot operation. Solution To disable a specific VSS writer being called during a snapshot operation:

Determine the name of the VSS writer that you want to exclude from the snapshot operation. Run this command from within Windows:

vssadmin list writers

Note: With Windows Vista, 7, and 2008 the command prompt may need to be run with administrator elevation.

You see output similar to:

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

Note: The name of the VSS Writer is highlighted.

Edit the vmbackup.conf file located at %ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Application Data\VMware\VMware Tools\. If the file does not exist, create it. Place the name of the VSS writer you want to disable on a separate line. If you want to disable more than one VSS writer, ensure that you place each VSS writer name on a separate line. For example:

Task Scheduler Writer NTDS SqlServerWriter

Restart the VMware Tools service. When the writer issue has been resolved, you can remove the offending writer from the vmbackup.conf file.


vProtect using via VSS will cause this error.


Note: VMware does not provide these VSS writers. Engage the provider of the VSS writer to troubleshoot the writer issue to ensure application consistency with the writer.

Third-Party Sources

VMware - Disabling specific VSS writers with VMware Tools (1031200)
Microsoft - TechNet article on Vssadmin utility and usage

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