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Troubleshooting SQL VSS Writer Issues

  • This article is for Windows only

The most important command when diagnosing any VSS issue is vssadmin list writers. This command will display all of the active writers on your system and the status of each.

To run this command:

  1. Open the Windows Command Prompt.
  2. Type vssadmin list writers.

Carbonite Safe Server Backup (CSSB) will record errors in the Application Event logs. Often, the CSSB errors are matched with a System Event or Application Event that indicates a failure.

When you run the vssadmin list writers command, you may encounter one of these issues. However, both resolutions are out of scope and cannot be performed by Carbonite Support.

The sections below are collapsed. Please click the section title to open / close a particular section.

The SQL Writer is not Shown

When you run the vssadmin list writers command, the SQL Server Writer is not shown and there is no error message in the Application Event logs. However, the SQLserver VSS Writer Service may be running.

To resolve this problem:

  1. Check if there are any spaces in the database names.
    1. Run the query:
      • SELECT name
                  ,LEN(LTRIM(RTRIM(name)) + '%') 'Length1'
                  ,LEN(name + '%') 'Length2'
              FROM sys.databases
              WHERE LEN(LTRIM(RTRIM(name)) + '%') <> LEN(name + '%')
    2. This command only looks for a white space at the end of the database name, not the beginning. If there were any rows as output, then it means there is a whitespace at the end of the database name.
    3. If any spaces are found, you must rename that database. Please follow the instructions in this Microsoft article.
  2. Check that the SQL Server VSS Writer Service is added to the sysadmin role in the SQL Server Management Studio.
After following these steps, run the vssadmin list writers command again. The writer should be present.
The SQL Server Writer has Failed

If the SQL Server Writer is marked as failed, first check the Windows Application Event logs for the errors. We have included three examples below:

Example #1

Event Type: Error
Event Source: SQLWRITER
Event Category: None
Event ID: 24583
Date: 4/30/2006
Time: 11:38:44 AM
User: N/A
Computer: ComputerName
Description:
Sqllib error: OLEDB Error encountered calling IDBInitialize::Initialize. hr = 0x80040e4d. SQLSTATE: 28000, Native Error: 18456
Error state: 1, Severity: 14
Source: Microsoft SQL Native Client
Error message: Login failed for user ‘NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM’.
DBPROP_INIT_DATASOURCE: ComputerName
DBPROP_INIT_CATALOG: master
DBPROP_AUTH_INTEGRATED: SSPI

Example #2

Event Type: Error
Event Source: SQLWRITER
Event Category: None
Event ID: 24583
Date: 4/30/2006
Time: 11:38:44 AM
User: N/A
Computer: ComputerName
Description:
Sqllib error: OLEDB Error encountered calling IDBInitialize::Initialize. hr = 0x80040e4d. SQLSTATE: 28000, Native Error: 18456
Error state: 1, Severity: 14
Source: Microsoft SQL Native Client
Error message: Login failed for user ‘NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM’.
DBPROP_INIT_DATASOURCE: ComputerName
DBPROP_INIT_CATALOG: master
DBPROP_AUTH_INTEGRATED: SSPI

Example #3

Event Type: Error
Event Source: VSS
Event Category: None
Event ID: 6013
Date: 4/30/2006
Time: 11:38:44 AM
User: N/A
Computer: ComputerName
Description:
Sqllib error: OLEDB Error encountered calling IDBInitialize::Initialize. hr = 0x80040e4d. SQLSTATE: 42000, Native Error: 18456
Error state: 1, Severity: 14
Source: Microsoft OLE DB Provider for SQL Server
Error message: Login failed for user ‘NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM’.

To resolve this problem, review this Microsoft article for detailed information on how to handle connectivity issues. A summary of its key points are below:

  1. Open the SQL Server Configuration Manager.
    1. Under Client Protocols (Both 32-bit and 64-bit), the TCP/IP, Shared Memory and Named Pipe protocols should be enabled.
    2. There should be no Aliases. If you select Aliases (again, both 32-bit and 64-bit) and see an Alias on the right side of the screen, you must remove it.
  2. Check that the SQL Server VSS Writer Service is added to the sysadmin role in the SQL Server Management Console.

Run the vssadmin list writers command again. If the SQL Server Writer is now in the Stable state, you found the issue. If not, review your particular error messages against this Microsoft article

If SQL VSS writer problems continue to occur, we recommend collecting log files and contacting Support.com for further assistance.

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