By Yuka / Last update November 2, 2022

What Is System State Backup in Windows Servers?

System state backup will back up operating system files, enabling you to recover when a machine starts but you've lost system files and registry. You can restore system state to the same server, or another server with identical hardware. A system state backup includes:

✭ Domain member: Boot files, COM+ class registration database, registry
✭ Domain controller: Active Directory (NTDS), boot files, COM+ class registration database, registry, system volume (SYSVOL)
✭ Machine running cluster services: Additionally backs up cluster server metadata
✭ Machine running certificate services: Additionally backs up certificate data

The Issue: System State Backup Fails in Windows Server 2016

When some Windows Server users used Windows Server Backup to perform a system state backup, they found that the backup could not be completed. The following are two common Windows Server errors that prevent backups from completing.

Error 1. Backup failed to complete. The system writer is not found in the backup.

“About two weeks ago my backup stopped working on my Hyper-V host using Windows Server Backup. The backup Windows show no backups, and the logs just state that the backup engine stopped. If I try to run a manual backup it fails with the message below.”

The System Writer is Not Found

The system writer fails because permissions to files in the %windir%\winsxs\filemaps\ or %windir%\winsxs\temp\PendingRenames directories are incorrect. Or the permissions issues with COM+ Event System Service may also lead to this error.

Error 2. The filename, directory name, or volume label syntax is incorrect.

“We recently migrated our domain controller to Windows server 2016 edition. I have schedule system state backup by using wbadmin command line tool. After migration to 2016, I observed following error…”

System State Backup Failed

This error may be caused by the wrong setting of the location path of some drivers.

How to Fix System State Backup Failure in Windows Server 2016

Well, no matter what error causes the system state backup to fail in Windows Server 2016, the most important thing is how to solve the problem. Read on to get 3 solutions. If you find it difficult to find solutions one by one, there is an easier way to help you create system state backup in Windows Server 2016.

Solution 1. Start or Restart Services

If your Windows Server 2016 system state backup fails with Window Server Backup, try to go to local services to start or restart services first.

  1. Press Win+R to open Run dialog box. Type services.msc in the box and click OK to continue.

Service.msc

  1. 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 make a system state backup. If it still doesn't work, then you should use the following solutions.

Solution 2. Change Winsxs Folder Access Permission

The permission to files in the Winsxs folder is incorrect may also lead to the system state backup failure. You can try to change the access permission to fix the problem.

  1. Run Command Prompt as administrator.
  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

  1. If the system writer not listed vssadmin, type the following command to make sure that the system writer is now listed:
    ☛ vssadmin list writers

Vssadmin List Writers

  1. Type regedit in the Run dialog and press Enter to open Registry Editor.

Regedit

  1. Navigate to the following key. Change the value of NT AUTHORITY\NETWORK SERVICE (REG_DWORD) to 1.
    ☛ HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\VSS\VssAccessControl

Network Service

Solution 3. Correct the Driver Location in Windows Registry

If your Windows Server 2016 system state backup fails with Window Server Backup, it may be caused by the incorrect path of some driver locations. Follow the steps below to correct the location of the driver.

  1. Before modifying the location of the driver, we need to accurately find the cause of this problem. Run Command Prompt as administrator.
  2. Type below and press ENTER:
    ☛ DiskShadow /L writers.txt
  3. Then type the following command and press Enter. After a while, this will list all of the writers and affected volumes. After completion, EXIT.
    ☛ list writers detailed
  4. Open the writers.txt file in notepad or any text editor, then a search for windows\\ text , it should find the following:
    ☛ File List: Path = c:\windows\\systemroot\system32\drivers, Filespec = vsock.sys
  5. So, the culprit was VSOCK.SYS. To sort this, we need to correct the path in Windows REGISTRY. Type regedit in the Run dialog and press Enter to open Registry Editor.

Regedit

  1. Navigate to the following key.
    ☛ HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\vsock
  2. Then change the ImagePath value string data from the incorrect: \systemroot\system32\DRIVERS\vsock.sys to System32\DRIVERS\vsock.sys

Change the ImagePath Value

  1. No need to reboot/log off. Simply run the backup again & this time you should see SUCCESSFUL report.

System State Backup Completed

Easier Way to Create System State Backup in Windows Server 2022, 2019, 2016

If you don't want to be so troublesome, I recommend you to use another third-party software for backup. AOMEI Backupper Server is a comprehensive and powerful backup software for Windows Server 2003 (R2)/2008 (R2)/2012 (R2)/2016/2019/2022 and Windows 11/10/8.1/8/7/Vista/XP. It provides continuous data protection for the business, making all data backup and disaster recovery easy. No professional skills or technology are required.

✫ It enables you to backup to different storages. You can use it to back up the server to external hard drives, NAS, network shares, cloud services, etc.
✫ It offers 3 backup methods: full backup,
incremental and differential backup. You can choose to backup all of data every time or only changes.
✫ It supports Microsoft VSS backup service and AOMEI backup service, so you can back up any items without interruption and file system limitation. Except for NTFS, you still can use it to backup partition formatted with FAT32/FAT16, exFAT/ReFS, Ext2/Ext3/Ext4, and other file systems.

With its help, you will not have to worry about Windows Server system state backup failing due to various errors. Learn the steps below to create a system backup with this software.

Step 1. Download and install this software on your Server.

Download Free Trial Windows Server & PC
Secure Download

Step 2. Open AOMEI Backupper. Select System Backup under the Backup tab.

System Backup

Step 3. AOMEI Backupper will choose source automatically for you. All you have to do is to choose a destination path.

Choose a Destination Path

Step 4. (optional) You can customize the backup settings by clicking the 3 options in the lower left corner of this program.

✽ Options: You could add a comment for your backup and use other backup settings such as the compression level, backup encryption, notifications, splitting image, intelligent sector, VSS, and more.

Backup Service

✽ Schedule: You can specify the exact time you want the backup to run. You can set a specific time of day, any day of the week or month, or event triggers, USB plug in.

Schedule

✽ Scheme: You can set full/incremental/differential backup or delete old backup here.

Scheme

Step 5. Finally, click Start Backup and wait for the process done.

Start Backup

To Sum Up

That’s all for the problem that Windows Server 2016 system state backup fails with Window Server Backup. After reading this article, you may find that if you are not familiar with computer expertise, fixing this error may be a little difficult.

If you want to avoid these problems once and for all, it is recommended that you use  AOMEI Backupper mentioned in this article to protect your Server. It can also help you create a Windows Server 2022 recovery disk. More powerful functions are waiting for you to explore. Try it at once!