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Macrium Reflect uses a Microsoft service called Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) to create disk images and backup files when in use.

VSS is a copy-on-write driver that intercepts disk writes before they actually happen. The contents of the disk are written to a shadow copy buffer before the write takes place. The disk image, therefore, represents an exact point-in-time and is not affected by disk write activity during image creation.

When VSS fails you are unable to create a disk image or backup open files with Macrium Reflect. Macrium Reflect cannot cause VSS to fail. Any failure is caused by other software or system configuration problems and will affect every program that uses VSS. Failures must be located and fixed for disk images and file backups to complete successfully. 

VSS requires at least one New Technology File System (NTFS) to be present and online to operate. Otherwise, the error: E_PROVIDER_VETO shows.


  1. When VSS fails there is usually an indication in the image or backup log file which shows in the Macrium Reflect log:

  2. Alternatively, the main VSS log can be seen as an option under the log view:

  3. If required, and you are using the Macrium Reflect email component, you can send these logs via email. Right click the log entry.
  4. select Send backup logs via email.
  5. A common error is Failed to Create Volume Snapshot followed by a hex result code. The result code is an error code from VSS. Googling VSS + Result Code often comes up with a solution to the VSS problems

You may also see:

This may be associated with a 'VolSnap' error in your Windows logs.

VSS uses writer components to ensure that the file system is in a stable state when creating your disk image. For example, SQL database writers ensure that all transactions to databases are complete before allowing the shadow copy service to continue. Windows includes a VSS administration program that can list the status of all VSS Writers you have on your system.

Open a command prompt and type 'vssadmin list writers'. In Vista/7/8 and Servers 2008 and later, make sure you start the command prompt with elevated privileges. This will list all your VSS writers with their current state and last error. (Link to instructions on creating elevated command prompt at bottom of tutorial).

Typical output:



Writers with an error state or where the last error isn't 'No Error' are probably causing a problem.

Look for messages in your Windows logs.

When VSS fails you will always get a corresponding message in your Windows event log.

  1. Right click on 'My computer'
  2. Select 'Manage'
  3. Expand the 'Event Viewer' node
  4. Look in the 'Application' message node for error messages  relating to 'VSS', 'Shadow Copy' or 'VolSnap'.
  5. If you find any messages then these with give you an 'Event ID' and sometimes a 'Result Code' or 'hr'. These two pieces of information can generally pin point the cause of your VSS failure. Try Googling the Event ID(s) and Result Code(s) for more information.

Make sure that the VSS service isn't disabled

Changing the startup type of the VSS service and rebooting can often resolve issues.

  1. Right click on 'My Computer'.
  2. Select 'Manage'.
  3. Select the 'Services' tree node.
  4. Right click on 'Volume Shadow Copy'
  5. Select Properties
  6. Change the startup type to 'Automatic'
  7. Reboot

Re-register the VSS components

Sometimes re-registering VSS core components can fix errors. Copy the following commands to Notepad and save the file with a '.bat' extension. Run the .bat file by opening a command prompt and entering the .bat file name.

We also provide a program which will recreate the correct registry setting and re-register all VSS components. Please download one of the below programs to fix your problem:

VSSfix 32bit - download
VSSfix 64bit - download


VSS error articles:


It is very probable that others have had a similar problem to you, so use Google as much as you can to find potential solutions. If all else fails you should contact Microsoft support for a resolution.