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2017-04-01

Reset VSS Writers

VSS writers are application-specific components for Microsoft's Volume Shadow Copy Service, which ensure the consistency of application data when a shadow copy is created. That's quite useful for creating consistent backups of a system. However, some of these writers go into error states more or less frequently. And Microsoft did not deem it necessary to document how to reset writers without rebooting the entire system (or at least I didn't manage to find that piece of information).


Since this burnt me once too often, I started compiling a list of VSS writers and the services that need to be restarted to reset each of them. Some are rather obvious, others (System Writer for instance) not so much.

VSS Writer Service Name Service Display Name
ADAM (<instance_name>) Writer ADAM_<instance_name> <instance_name>
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
Dedup Writer ddpvssvc Data Deduplication Volume Shadow Copy Service
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

This list is far from complete. It merely contains those writers I already had to deal with and some contributions from fellow administrators.

You can use PowerShell for listing failed writers:

& vssadmin list writers | Select-String -Context 0,4 '^writer name:' | ? {
  $_.Context.PostContext[2].Trim() -ne "state: [1] stable" -or
  $_.Context.PostContext[3].Trim() -ne "last error: no error"
}

or the state of a particular writer:

$name = [Regex]::Escape('writer name')
& vssadmin list writers | Select-String -Context 0,4 "^writer name: .*$name"

History

2013-06-18: Originally posted.

Update 2013-12-16: Added a PowerShell command for listing failed VSS writers. Added VSS writers for SharePoint. Thanks to Radoslav Viktor Terstenjak for contributing the service associated with the OSearch VSS Writer.

Update 2014-01-19: Added VSS writers for File Server Resource Manager (thanks to Johannes Engler for this contribution) and Active Directory Domain Services. Added a PowerShell command for displaying a specific writer. Added link to Microsoft's list of in-box VSS writers.

Update 2014-02-12: Added VSS writers for File Replication, DHCP Server and Remote Desktop Licensing (thanks to Rob VanHoorne and Don Reese for these contributions).

Update 2014-06-04: Added the VSS writer for WINS (thanks to Sean Wolfe for this contribution).

Update 2014-11-18: Added VSS writers for SCCM (thanks to Sebastian Cerazy for this contribution) and Windows Internal Database.

Update 2015-02-22: Added VSS writers for Windows Search and Microsoft Exchange Replication Service (thanks to Gary Campbell and Michael Graff Andersen for these contributions).

Update 2015-04-17: Added VSS writer for MSMQ (thanks to Jennifer Wagner for this contribution).

Update 2016-04-12: Added Network Policy Service VSS writer (thanks to Daniel Harris for this contribution) and Certificate Authority writer.
As a side note, while it's kinda flattering that my humble list made it into the Dell and Veeam knowledgebases, it would have been an even nicer touch had they actually included proper attribution. Or at least kept the list up to date (the version used in both articles is from June 2014).

Update 2016-05-09: Added Windows Deployment Services VSS writer (thanks to Ravikant Meena for this contribution).

Update 2016-10-20: Added Dedup Writer (thanks to Marcin Macoch for this contribution) and ADAM Writer (Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services).

Update 2017-04-01: Added SharePoint Services Writer (thanks to Steffan Rhoads for this contribution) and OSearch15 VSS Writer (SharePoint 2013).

Posted 20:41 [permalink]