MS Exchange Troubleshooting

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Microsoft Exchange Server

Exchange backup fails with VSS API error due to missing Microsoft Exchange VSS writer


When backing up Exchange, the backup fails because the Microsoft Exchange VSS writer required for backup is missing. The following error occurs:

sbc-1178: Error:   VSS API error: 
CVssServer::CreateSnapshot: No volume could be determined.
sbc-1146: Error:   
DB Module: [BackupProcessing: For the specified backup source no volumes could be 
determined. Sources - \Microsoft Exchange Writer]
sbc-3052: Info:    
Items processed correctly: [0]. Not processed or incorrectly processed items: [0]. 
sbc-1156: Error:   Operation failed!
sbc-3001: Info:    Exiting.

This error occurs when one or more writers required for backup are missing or not available. Note that this is not the same as VSS error or failed VSS. In the latter case, check Common VSS problems.

A writer is consider missing, if running (as administrator) the Microsoft command-line tool vssadmin list writers shows no available Microsoft Exchange VSS writer. If a VSS writer is missing, all backups that use that writer to perform VSS snapshots will fail. A missing writer is a failure of the Windows operating system. To fix this issue, Windows registry needs to be edited. SEP sesam cannot back up any data until the required VSS writers are available.


Information sign.png Note
SEP sesam is not responsible for any issue caused by Windows registry editing. Note that only experts should edit the registry, as using Windows registry editor incorrectly can cause serious problems, such as Windows to stop working. For more information on editing Windows registry, see Windows registry information for advanced users.
It is advised to back up the registry before making any change to it. It is also recommended to perform the following procedure outside of working hours as it requires restarting the Microsoft Exchange Information Store service.

To enable Microsoft Exchange VSS writer, on the Exchange server open and edit the registry with the following key value:

"Disable Exchange Writer" DWORD=0

If the key already exists with a value of 1, change the value to 0. (Value 1 disables the Microsoft Exchange Writer.) For more information on enabling VSS Exchange writer, refer to How to turn on the Exchange writer for the Volume Shadow Copy service (it is marked as relevant for Windows Small Business Server 2003, but the procedure can also be applied to later versions).

Then restart the Microsoft Exchange Information Store service:

  1. Log in to the Exchange server and click Start.
  2. Enter services.msc in the search box, and press Enter. The Services window opens.
  3. From the list of services, right-click the Microsoft Exchange Information Store service (MSExchangeIS), and then click Restart. Note that during restart the users will be disconnected from Exchange.

After restarting Exchange, in the command prompt enter vssadmin list writers and verify that the VSS writers are listed. Then run your Exchange backup again.

Exchange Recovery Pro asks for License

If you have started Exchange Recovery Pro the first time you get prompted to install the license. If you use several different Windows users you get this prompt for every user.

See also