Start here to troubleshoot a Windows backup error or warning

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1. Introduction

This article describes preliminary troubleshooting steps for Windows backup errors or warnings. When you have any kind of error or warning with the ShadowSnap agent, start with these steps. If the steps listed here do not solve the problem that you are having, refer to Section 5 for advice on specific backup errors.


Figure 1 - Example of a backup error

2. Check ShadowSnap and ShadowProtect

This section describes common troubleshooting procedures that you should follow for any ShadowSnap backup error. 

If this is a new deployment, review our guide on Preparing for ShadowSnap deployment, as this covers a wide span of best practices you should follow regarding specific server configurations which are beyond the scope of this article.

If backups were functioning previously, consider the environment this device and agent are deployed in. Is there any maintenance occurring, or have there been any recent changes to the protected machine or its network be the cause of these errors? If the health of a protected system or its environment is weakened, it's highly likely that the reliability of backups will decrease as well.

2.1. Check your ShadowSnap version

First, check that the protected machine is using the latest version of ShadowSnap. Many transient errors that were present in earlier versions of ShadowSnap and ShadowProtect were fixed in the latest version.

To check the version of ShadowSnap, go into the device's Remote Web interface, and click on the Protect tab. Scroll to the machine that you are troubleshooting. Then, check the agent version, as shown in Figure 2.


Figure 2 - ShadowSnap agent version, as shown in Remote Web

If you are not running ShadowSnap version 3.4.1 or above, download the latest version, and proceed to Section 2.4.

2.2. Check your ShadowProtect version

To make sure you have the latest version of ShadowProtect on the target machine, open the StorageCraft ShadowProtect program from Windows Explorer. Go into the Help menu, and click About, as shown in Figure 3.


Figure 3 - Checking the version of ShadowProtect

If ShadowProtect is not at version 5.0.1.23057 or above, proceed to the next section to reinstall.

2.3. Upgrading ShadowProtect and ShadowSnap

If either ShadowSnap or ShadowProtect are out of date, we recommend that you uninstall, downloading the latest versions, and reinstall both ShadowProtect and ShadowSnap. Here is the detailed procedure:

  1. Go into Add or Remove Programs. Uninstall both ShadowProtect and ShadowSnap.
  2. Reboot the server.
  3. Reinstall ShadowProtect and ShadowSnap using the latest installers available at download.datto.com.
  4. Reboot the protected machine to load the agent before backups may resume.

3. Restart agent services

Some backup errors may result when the ShadowSnap agent services are not running properly. 

Check that all 3 services are present on the target machine via services.msc:

  • StorageCraft Raw Agent
  • StorageCraft Shadow Copy Provider
  • ShadowProtect Service
Permanently disable StorageCraft ImageReady: Right click the service and go to Properties. Then, change the Startup Type to Disabled.

Open up task manager, and end the processes of any instances of the following services:

  • raw_agent_svc.exe
  • ShadowProtect.exe
  • ShadowProtectSvc.exe
  • vsnapvss.exe

Restart the services through the services.msc console.

4. Repair agent communications

This simple step forces the Datto device to redo the handshake that occurs during initial agent pairing. This also refreshes some important configuration keys on the device's end, and can solve a number of agent communication errors.

  1. On the Datto device, navigate to Protect > Configure Agent Settings.
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the Configure Agent Settings page, and click the Repair Agent Communications button, as shown in Figure 4.


    Figure 4 - Repair Agent Communications

5. Next steps

If these preliminary troubleshooting steps do not solve your problem, refer to the list below for a link to an article about the specific error you are seeing:

Common Critical Errors

STC/VSS failure occurred mid transfer

Encrypted Backup Errors


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