VSS Error Troubleshooting Guide Part 1 of 3

Welcome to the Most Comprehensive VSS Troubleshooting Guide on the Internet!


If you are running into issues with VSS, this free, multi-page guide will most likely help you fix the problem.

We’ve put together a dozen different strategies to help you out. We also offer a VSS repair service, please contact us via the helpline page.

new Download our freeware VssDiag™ tool which helps you find error details in Windows.
Click here to download the full guide as PDF

How to Fix Volume Shadow Copy Service: 11 Strategies

BackupChain contains a Volume Shadow Copy Service test feature to test the VSS function on your drive C:. Simply hold Ctrl and press T once in order to run a test. Note: it may take several minutes to complete.

We have put together Strategies #1 to #11 (see Part II and Part III) and hope these strategies will help you out:


Step #1: The First Thing To Do Before Attempting Fixes

Check Windows Event Viewer logs and several sub-logs
; this will save you hours if not days of work!

In addition, download our VssDiag tool which helps you find VSS error entries.

This is the most crucial step in fixing the problem: dig through the Event Viewer logs. If you haven’t done this before, it’s a great opportunity to approach it now since the Event Viewer system is where Windows logs almost everything. Once you know the exact cause, the fix is usually trivial.


Repair Strategy #1 of 11

Reboot. For some reason, servers that haven’t been rebooted in a while cause VSS to malfunction. As all Microsoft veterans know, you need to reboot regularly as a preventive and cleanup
measure for your system. Rebooting will eliminate VSS problems caused by transient VSS errors.

Repair Strategy #2 of 11

Open “vssadmin from the command line (run cmd as administrator).

Enter “vssadmin delete shadows /all” to clean up any dead / orphaned shadows. Some defect systems accumulate hundreds of VSS snapshots that persist in the system and cause Windows to become unresponsive.

Enter “vssadmin list writers” and check for errors. If you receive errors for one writer, you may need to fix that particular service . It is quite common to receive multiple errors from several related services, such as “VolSnap” and “Disk”.

If you see a VSS error, try the following:

Restart the services:

COM+ System Application
Service, Distributed Transaction Coordinator Service, and Volume
Shadow Copy Service

and also restart the affected service, for example, the Hyper-V VSS writer.


The most important thing to do is to check the Event Viewer for any additional error information logged. Usually each VSS aware service will have its own logs, most likely inside the Event Viewer.

Run again “vssadmin list writers” to check if the above resolved the problem. If it didn’t follow with the next strategy below:


Repair Strategy #3 of 11

Uninstall all backup utilities on your computer, including Windows Backup if it’s installed. You don’t need to uninstall BackupChain because BackupChain doesn’t contain or install any VSS drivers; however, we have seen VSS components of other backup solution developers cause system instability and errors.

After all other backup tools have been uninstalled, open the Registry Editor (regedit) as administrator and check the following branch: “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\VSS\Providers”

Underneath that key you should only find Microsoft Software Shadow Copy Provider 1.0 and no other VSS provider (with the exception of Windows Server 2012 and later, where you’ll find several system providers). If you do find another third-party VSS provider registered, it may be a residue registry entry of a previous software installation. You can save the entry by exporting the entire registry to a file (right click and select Export) and then it’s safe to delete the entire branch entry underneath HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\VSS\Provider.

Then reboot and try again running “vssadmin list writers” to confirm the problem has been resolved.

Note: If you are using specialized attached storage that requires its own VSS provider, you may see a driver reference in the above registry key. Please leave those kinds of entries intact.
In addition, on Windows Server 2012 you may find additional system related VSS providers there, which should also remain referenced.

A Note to Ex-Acronis Users (or Other Backup Tools)

The following article describes a common error caused by “Acronis” software and other backup tools that install VSS providers:

The error returned from CoCreateInstance on class with CLSID {5fc845eb-f299-40f0-9725-34045f7ea8ba} and Name HWPRV is [0x80004002, No such interface supported

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This free guide is provided by BackupChain Backup Software: