By Lena / Last update July 6, 2021

The issue: The system writer is not found in the backup

“I'm facing a typical problem with my Windows Server 2012 backup. Recently I started using Server 2012 Standard. After installing the Windows Server Backup feature, when I try to create a backup (full), the following error keeps coming for me: System writer is not found in the backup. Can someone please help me to sort this? Thanks.”

This is a question from a forum user, and maybe you have suffered or you are suffering from this issue. No matter the Windows Server 2012 or Windows Server 2008, when you want to make a backup and sometimes you may receive this error message: Backup failed to complete. The system writer is not found in the backup. And it may be followed by the error code 0x80780102.

The System Writer

Tip: What is system writer?

The Shadow Copy System Writer is used by the cryptographic services provided by the operating system. It is used to enumerate and replace system files when the signature of a system file is different from the signature stored in the security catalog database.

Possible reasons for the system writer is not found in the backup

There are many possible causes for the error. And generally, two common reasons can lead to this annoying issue.

  • A very common one is because Windows Server limits any directory from containing more than 1,000 subdirectories. Visual Studio 2012 installs more than 1,000 subdirectories in the following location: C:\Windows\Microsoft.Net. Therefore when the system state writer tries to back up the folder, the issue occurs.

  • Other causes like permissions issues (frequently in C:\Windows\WinSXS and C:\Windows\Microsoft.Net) and permissions issues with COM+ Event System Service may also lead to this error.

Well, no matter what the reason is, the urgent task is how to solve the problem. Just keep reading to get 4 solutions to fix the system writer missing problem.

Fix the system writer is not found in the backup for Windows Server 2008/2012/2016

Here in this part, you will know four solutions to the system writer is not found in the backup error. You can try them one by one to fix the system writer missing issue. If you like to solve the problem as soon as possible without complicated operating steps, you can just go to Solution 4 to get one Windows server backup tool which can help you create a backup easily and quickly. It even allows you to create multiple scheduled backup tasks.

Solution 1. Start or restart services

To fix the system writer is not found in the backup problem, first, you can go to local services to start or restart services.

Press Windows key and R key to open Run box. Type services.msc in the box and click OK to continue. Find out the below services and right-click each option to make it.

  • COM+ Event System

  • COM+ System Application

  • Distributed Transactions Coordinator

  • Microsoft Software Shadow Copy Provider

  • Volume Shadow Copy service

  • Networker remote exec service

  • Cryptographic Service

Local Services

Then try to take test backup. If it does not work, then you should go with below solution.

Solution 2. Change Winsxs folder access permission

If the permission to the files in the Winsxs folder is incorrect, then the system writer is not found in the backup error may happen. You can try to change the access permission to fix the problem.

Step 1. Run Command Prompt as administrator.

Step 2. Type the following command and press Enter to continue after each command.

Takeown /f %windir%\winsxs\temp\PendingRenames /a

icacls %windir%\winsxs\temp\PendingRenames /grant "NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM:(RX)"

icacls %windir%\winsxs\temp\PendingRenames /grant "NT Service\trustedinstaller:(F)"

icacls %windir%\winsxs\temp\PendingRenames /grant BUILTIN\Users:(RX)

Takeown /f %windir%\winsxs\filemaps\* /a

icacls %windir%\winsxs\filemaps\*.* /grant "NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM:(RX)"

icacls %windir%\winsxs\filemaps\*.* /grant "NT Service\trustedinstaller:(F)

icacls %windir%\winsxs\filemaps\*.* /grant BUILTIN\Users:(RX)

net stop cryptsvc

net start cryptsvc

Command Line

If the system writer not listed vssadmin, type the following command to make sure that the system writer is now listed:

vssadmin list writers

System Writer

Now try your VSS Backup with Windows Server Backup.

Note: Shadow Copy technology requires the file system to be NTFS in order to create and store shadow copies. So, make sure the source disk or partition is NTFS. If necessary, you can convert FAT to NTFS.

Solution 3. Make some changes to COM Security

Step 1. Press Windows key and R key to open Run box. Type dcomcnfg in the box and click OK to continue.

Step 2. Navigate to Component Services/Computer/My Computer.

Step 3. Right-click My Computer and choose Properties.

Step 4. Click Com Security tab and click Edit Default...

Step 5. Click Add button in the popup window and add Network Service account to the permission list.

Step 6. Finally, check only the Local Access is checked and click OK to confirm.

If all the above-mentioned solutions cannot solve the system writer is not found in the backup in Server 2008/2012/2016, you are still lucky to have another guaranteed fix: that is to use professional backup software.

Solution 4. An easier way to solve this issue once for all

AOMEI Backupper Server is a comprehensive and powerful backup software for Windows Server 2003 (R2)/2008 (R2)/2012 (R2)/2016 and Windows 10/8.1/8/7/Vista/XP. It supports almost all File System including NTFS, FAT32/FAT16, exFAT/ReFS, Ext2/Ext3/Ext4, and other file systems. Even if you have a RAW partition, you can still perform a sector-by-sector backup mode.

  • It can help you create system backup, file backup, disk backup, partition backup.

  • It supports all kinds of storage devices like a traditional hard disk drive, SSD, all removable flash drives and thumb drive, NAS, shared network and cloud drive, etc.

  • It offers full backup as well as incremental/differential backup which can help full use of your storage space.

  • It allows you to set multiple scheduled backup tasks. You can simply create a daily backup task for the folders you use every day and a weekly backup task for system state drive.

The most important thing is that you will not worry about the system writer is not found in the backup issue. It can support as many files as possible as long as you have enough storage.

Steps to create system image backup:

First download AOMEI Backupper Server, install and open it. 

Download Free Trial Win 10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Step 1. Select System Backup under the Backup tab.

System Backup

Step 2. AOEMI Backupper will choose source automatically for you. All you have to do is to choose a destination path.

System Backup

Step 3. At the bottom, click Options and click Backup Mode, then select either use Microsoft VSS or use AOMEI Backup Service. Both features allow the program to back up data without interrupting operations in the process. 


Note: VSS is a backup technique which is provided by Microsoft. Even if there is something wrong with VSS, you can still use AOMEI’s built-in technique to backup without interrupting. Therefore, there is no need to worry system writer missing in server 2008 (R2)/2012 (R2)/2016 issue at all.

Step 4. To set automatic backup, click Schedule and select one or more settings. To delete old backup, click Scheme and select a specific role. Finally, click Start Backup and wait for the process done.

  • Daily/weekly/monthly backup: To continuously backup system and keep the latest updates, newly installed apps, added or deleted files, you could try daily backup, weekly backup or monthly backup.

  • Event triggers: To backup system without any interfering of your operations, "System Shutdown" in Event triggers is recommended.

  • Wake the computer to run scheduled tasks: To backup system during off-peak hours, you can set the backup time to midnight or any other times, then tick this feature.

  • Incremental or differential backup: To save backup time and disk space, both features are available, because they only backup the changed content.

Schedule Settings General

★ More advanced way to create system image backup in Windows Server

If you want one key system backup & recovery solution for your server, specialized onekey recovery software - AOMEI OneKey Recovery comes to help. It supports both Windows PC and Windows Server operating systems. You are allowed to save system image on a custom recovery partition, and you can restore system from the recovery partition either within Windows or under Windows PE.

OneKey System Backup


That’s all for how to fix the system writer is not found in the backup in Server 2008/2012/2016. Hope one of the solutions can help you get out of the trouble. Or you can just try AOMEI Backupper Server, which is designed for professional backup and restore. With it, you do not need to worry the system writer is not found in the backup issue will happen again.

If you want to protect unlimited PCs and servers within your company, you may choose AOMEI Backupper Technician Plus. It offers unlimited billable technical services to clients. It also enables you to copy installation directory for portable version creation.