A VSS critical writer has failed: SqlServerWriter

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A VSS critical writer has failed: SqlServerWriter

Veeam Logoby AlexLeadingEdge » Thu May 26, 2016 11:57 pm

I installed a program called ACT! Premium yesterday which uses SQL Server 2014 and since then the backups have failed 55 times (retries).

27-May-16 9:52:43 AM :: Error: Failed to create snapshot: Backup job failed. Cannot create a shadow copy of the volumes containing writer's data. A VSS critical writer has failed. Writer name: [SqlServerWriter]. Class ID: [{a65faa63-5ea8-4ebc-9dbd-a0c4db26912a}]. Instance ID: [{76301a1a-85cf-46df-ae7c-b30efafe3afc}]. Writer's state: [VSS_WS_FAILED_AT_PREPARE_SNAPSHOT]. Error code: [0x800423f4].


Running "vssadmin list writers" in command prompt gives this error message:

Writer name: 'SqlServerWriter'
Writer Id: {a65faa63-5ea8-4ebc-9dbd-a0c4db26912a}
Writer Instance Id: {76301a1a-85cf-46df-ae7c-b30efafe3afc}
State: [8] Failed
Last error: Non-retryable error
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Re: A VSS critical writer has failed: SqlServerWriter

Veeam Logoby AlexLeadingEdge » Fri May 27, 2016 12:16 am 1 person likes this post

A reboot of the machine has fixed this error. Backup has completed successfully.
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Re: A VSS critical writer has failed: SqlServerWriter

Veeam Logoby Dima P. » Fri May 27, 2016 2:19 pm

AlexLeadingEdge,

I guess, SQL writer might be stuck in 'pending for reboot' state and that’s why you got a backup error. Thanks for sharing!
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Re: A VSS critical writer has failed: SqlServerWriter

Veeam Logoby AlexLeadingEdge » Sun May 29, 2016 9:33 pm

Hi Dmitry,

It was working on Friday after a reboot but it is no longer working again this Monday morning :cry: The machine was off over the weekend.

30-May-16 8:45:36 AM :: Creating VSS snapshot Error: Failed to create snapshot: Backup job failed. Cannot create a shadow copy of the volumes containing writer's data. A VSS critical writer has failed. Writer name: [SqlServerWriter]. Class ID: [{a65faa63-5ea8-4ebc-9dbd-a0c4db26912a}]. Instance ID: [{a2c4b548-3a8b-4942-a341-00088397b26e}]. Writer's state: [VSS_WS_FAILED_AT_PREPARE_SNAPSHOT]. Error code: [0x800423f4].


Veeam Support - Case # 01811311
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Re: A VSS critical writer has failed: SqlServerWriter

Veeam Logoby Dima P. » Mon May 30, 2016 6:03 pm

Thanks. Please do not forget to update the thread with the investigation results. Cheers!
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Re: A VSS critical writer has failed: SqlServerWriter

Veeam Logoby AlexLeadingEdge » Tue May 31, 2016 10:21 pm 1 person likes this post

From Konstantin (VEEAM):
I see that you have (or had) another backup software installed, which uses its own provider:

Provider name: 'StorageCraft Volume Snapshot Software Provider'
Provider type: Software
Provider Id: {24602736-bed9-4619-91b0-243447c6409c}

We do not recommend using another backup software side-by-side with Veeam. Please remove this StorageCraft software (if any), or use this link to remove Provider manually - http://hyper-v-backup.backupchain.com/how-to-remove-acronis-vss-driver-provider/ (please check that you're removing the correct Id).

Additionally, please run the following command:

vssadmin delete shadows /all

Also there are a lot of errors in Application log with access denied errors.

Please check that SYSTEM account has full permissions to C:\ drive according to this article - https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc734021(v=ws.10).aspx

Then restart VSS service once again and try to run a backup.

SYSTEM has Full Control access so nothing to do. I have uninstalled Shadow Protect (old version, not used anyway) and rebooted. VEEAM Endpoint Backup is now running correctly. :)
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Re: A VSS critical writer has failed: SqlServerWriter

Veeam Logoby Dima P. » Wed Jun 01, 2016 11:29 am

Perfect. It appears that a third party VSS provider caused the issue – thanks for sharing with the community.
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Re: A VSS critical writer has failed: SqlServerWriter

Veeam Logoby AlexLeadingEdge » Wed Jun 15, 2016 12:06 am

I restarted the SQL Server and it still failed, then rebooted the machine and the whole machine became unresponsive, most likely losing USB keyboard and mouse. By the looks of it a file was installed to C:\ as "Program" and it caused all third party programs in "Program Files" to fail to start (including the Microsoft Keyboard and Mouse software!). I crashed the computer on restart three times and managed to get it to roll back to before the latest "Critical Update" (two days ago) and it went back to normal. I have renamed the random offending file to "Program1" and it seems to be fine now.

Backup has now run successfully.
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Re: A VSS critical writer has failed: SqlServerWriter

Veeam Logoby Dima P. » Wed Jun 15, 2016 10:46 pm

AlexLeadingEdge,

Wow, that’s odd. Check this directory with some AV to make sure it’s safe too keep.
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Re: A VSS critical writer has failed: SqlServerWriter

Veeam Logoby AlexLeadingEdge » Thu Jun 16, 2016 2:28 am

I have just uploaded it to Virus Total (https://www.virustotal.com/) to scan the file with all the major antivirus products. Only one said it was a threat (DrWeb called it "DLOADER.Trojan") but all the rest say it is ok. Virus Total gave it a 100 out of 100 for safety.

It says it is related to WRDATA, which is the folder that Webroot Antivirus uses to store its database and update files. By the looks of it Webroot has tried to update and failed, leaving a badly formed install :(
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Re: A VSS critical writer has failed: SqlServerWriter

Veeam Logoby AlexLeadingEdge » Thu Jun 16, 2016 4:44 am

It has done it again :(

16-Jun-16 3:23:41 PM :: Error: Failed to create snapshot: Backup job failed. Cannot create a shadow copy of the volumes containing writer's data. A VSS critical writer has failed. Writer name: [SqlServerWriter]. Class ID: [{a65faa63-5ea8-4ebc-9dbd-a0c4db26912a}]. Instance ID: [{c2950dc7-2afe-4bd0-8c0e-6e1fe062b780}]. Writer's state: [VSS_WS_FAILED_AT_PREPARE_SNAPSHOT]. Error code: [0x800423f4].
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Re: A VSS critical writer has failed: SqlServerWriter

Veeam Logoby AlexLeadingEdge » Thu Aug 11, 2016 12:03 am

Going into Services and turning off SQL Server VSS Writer allows VEEAM to run.
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Re: A VSS critical writer has failed: SqlServerWriter

Veeam Logoby mcrape » Thu Aug 11, 2016 2:12 am 1 person likes this post

I had a similar issue, but mine involved the SQL VSS writer failing at install (see here).

My issue turned out that I had an old and / or corrupt dll (msvcr100.dll) in c:\windows\system32\. I ended up renaming that file re-installing without issue. Not sure if it is the same issue, but it sounds similar so I thought I would chime in.
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Re: A VSS critical writer has failed: SqlServerWriter

Veeam Logoby AlexLeadingEdge » Thu Aug 11, 2016 4:33 am

mcrape wrote:I had a similar issue, but mine involved the SQL VSS writer failing at install (see here).

My issue turned out that I had an old and / or corrupt dll (msvcr100.dll) in c:\windows\system32\. I ended up renaming that file re-installing without issue. Not sure if it is the same issue, but it sounds similar so I thought I would chime in.
Thank you, any help is always appreciated :) It appears to be related to a program we use called ACT! Premium, that installs SQL Server. It seems to install it badly, and when ACT! Premium is uninstalled it leaves the SQL Server in place so removing ACT! Premium doesn't even fix the issue :shock:
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Re: A VSS critical writer has failed: SqlServerWriter

Veeam Logoby cmeis » Wed Aug 17, 2016 10:29 am

Hello AlexLeadingEdge,

I'm fighting with the same problem, which is also occuring on workstations which have Act installed and are to be backuped by Veeam Endpoint Backup.

What did you do to make the VSS errors go away? Or do you have any further information about what the Act installer does "badly" when installing the SQL server (express)?
I have about 15 machines with failing backups due to this error now :-/

Any hints are warmly welcomed! ;-)

Best regards,
Christian
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