Please note the screenshots are taken from different sources of on the internet, therefore the data and time parameters are not correlated. In an actual troubleshooting scenario, these details are correlated.

 Check the event log for failure events logged by Windows Server Backup.

Filter and check the VSS event logs to see if any errors are logged which can be correlated to the backup.

Above event log narrow down to a VSS issue of Microsoft Exchange writer.

Get a CMD console with Admin privileges and type “VSSadmin list writers”

As you can see the list of vss writers will appear and we can identify that the Microsoft Exchange writer has failed. This has caused the backup failure. In this instance, you will have to restart the corresponding service of the Microsoft Exchange writer, which is the information store. (This needs to be restarted out of business hours as it will disrupt the email flow)

Also, it is advisable to restart all the writers which are not in a Stable state even though it is not in a failed state.

Following is the list of vss writers and the corresponding services.

VSS Writer Service Name Service Display Name
ADAM $instanceName Writer ADAM_$instanceName $instanceName
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
OSearch VSS Writer OSearch Office SharePoint Server Search
OSearch14 VSS Writer OSearch14 SharePoint Server Search 14
OSearch15 VSS Writer OSearch15 SharePoint Server Search 15
Registry Writer VSS Volume Shadow Copy
Shadow Copy Optimization Writer VSS Volume Shadow Copy
SharePoint Services Writer SPWriter Windows SharePoint Services VSS Writer
SMS Writer SMS_SITE_VSS_WRITER SMS_SITE_VSS_WRITER
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

Once the appropriate vss writer is restarted the backup can be reinitiated.

Please note if the issue is continuously happening you may need to check the logs to find the root cause of the VSS failure.

Written by: Dulan Chathuranga.

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