There are instances when block-level backup fail because the VSS writers are in a failed state, but it is impossible or not desirable to restart the server until at least after business hours.


VSS writers in a failed state cause block-level backup failures.

Block level backup fails with the following errors:
X.X.X.X  sssnap Mon Feb 18 15:04:23 2019 SNBSNP3069E 4680: MsSnapShot::check_wrts_report_okay::check_wrt_status rc[-1]
X.X.X.X  sssnap Mon Feb 18 15:04:23 2019 SNBSNP3069E 4680: Failed to check the status of all writers after snapshot rc [-1]
X.X.X.X  sssnap Mon Feb 18 15:04:24 2019 SNBSNP3069E 4680: BACKUP::backup_components failed rc(-10)
X.X.X.X sssnap Mon Feb 18 15:04:24 2019 SNBSNP3069E 4680: Failed to backup the applications / disk ( RC(-16)
X.X.X.X  aph Mon Feb 18 15:04:24 2019 SNBAPH_381E  Exception in message (BACKUP_VSS) to module (sssnap), reqrc (-16)


VSS writers are application-specific components for Microsoft's Volume Shadow Copy Service (not operating system dependent), which ensure the consistency of application data when a shadow copy is created, and are useful for creating consistent backups of a system. However, some of these writers enter error states more or less frequently. An alternative solution other than restarting the server is to restart each of the associated services for each of the VSS writers in a failed state by following the steps below:

  1. Find each of the VSS writers in a failed state by issuing this command in an elevated command prompt:
  2. vssadmin list writers
  3. Make a list of all the failed VSS writers, or take a screenshot.
  4. Find the VSS writer's associated Service Display Name in the table below and restart the service.
  5. Issue the command again to confirm the status has changed to Stable with no Error:
  6. vssadmin list writers
  7. Attempt to perform another block-level backup
  8. If the VSS writers fail again, you must restart the server.
VSS WriterService NameService Display Name
ASR WriterVSSVolume Shadow Copy
BITS WriterBITSBackground Intelligent Transfer Service
COM+ REGDB WriterVSSVolume Shadow Copy
DFS Replication service writerDFSRDFS Replication
DHCP Jet WriterDHCPServerDHCP Server
FRS WriterNtFrsFile Replication
FSRM writersrmsvcFile Server Resource Manager
IIS Config WriterAppHostSvcApplication Host Helper Service
IIS Metabase WriterIISADMINIIS Admin Service
Microsoft Exchange WriterMSExchangeISMicrosoft Exchange Information Store
Microsoft Hyper-V VSS WritervmmsHyper-V Virtual Machine Management
NTDSNTDSActive Directory Domain Services
OSearch VSS WriterOSearchOffice SharePoint Server Search
OSearch14 VSS WriterOSearch14SharePoint Server Search 14
Registry WriterVSSVolume Shadow Copy
Shadow Copy Optimization WriterVSSVolume Shadow Copy
SPSearch VSS WriterSPSearchWindows SharePoint Services Search
SPSearch4 VSS WriterSPSearch4SharePoint Foundation Search V4
SqlServerWriterSQLWriterSQL Server VSS Writer
System WriterCryptSvcCryptographic Services
TermServLicensingTermServLicensingRemote Desktop Licensing
WINS Jet WriterWINSWindows Internet Name Service (WINS)
WMI WriterWinmgmtWindows Management Instrumentation
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