Symantec Backup Exec 2010 R3

Backup Exec 2010 VSS Snapshot error

VSS Snapshot Error Description

One of my clients was having an issue with Veritas (formally Symantec) Backup Exec with a “VSS Snapshot error”. This problem has many different solutions. The error message is pretty generic for any problem causing the VSS writers in Windows to crash. The error message I received was as follows:

AOFO: Initialization failure on: “Shadow?Copy?Components”. Advanced Open File Option used: Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS).

V-79-10000-11226 – VSS Snapshot error. The Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) snapshot provider selected returned: “Unexpected provider error”. Ensure that all provider services are enabled and can be started. Check the Windows Event Viewer for details.

I tried about half a dozen potential solutions to this VSS error. The solutions I tried included:

  • Adding and removing windows updates and hot fixes
  • Restarting the server and services within the server
  • Modifying Windows registry settings
  • Looking up to the heavens and cursing Backup Exec.

All of these solutions were somewhat complicated. Some of the solutions that included editing Windows registry were also very risky.

The solution that ended up working was one that was posted to the Veritas website shortly after my client began having backup issues. This leads me to believe that something happened around that time with Windows Server or Backup Exec that caused them to become incompatible for VSS Snapshots.


  1. Go to “Computer” on the server in question and right click a hard disk.
  2. Select “Configure Shadow Copies…”
  3. For each volume select it and click settings.
  4. If maximum size is set to a limit select the radio button for “No limit”.
  5. Click OK and repeat.

Since doing this extremely simple solution I have been able to run backups successfully again. The article referenced below suggested that if the volumes were already set to “No Limit” to add a limited temporarily and then go back and set them again to no limit.


The solution for this came from here.

I came across that link through this forum post here.


VSS Snapshot Error