I'm having a problem creating clones of my backup domain controller VM. When I try to create a clone of the VM using vSphere Client I get the following error message:

"Cannot create a quiesced snapshot because the create snapshot operation exceeded the time limit for holding off I/O in the frozen virtual machine."

I have tried a lot of different things that I have read on different forums but none of them have worked. The link here (http://communities.vmware.com/docs/DOC-11987;jsessionid=070C27B939C0BFAA66DA7537C42E00ED) seemed promising, especially the instructions to do the following:

To All,

The following tricks working without uninstalling the VMWare tools support for VSS. Please be advised that I've tried this method on all of my failed to backup of Windows Server 2008/2003 x64 VMs

The reason why I'm doing this again is that I feel uncomfortable in removing the VSS snapshot provider support in VMWare tools:

  1. Backup the following regkey: _HKLM\Software\Microsoft\EventSystem _
  2. Erase the regkey HKLM\Software\Microsoft\EventSystem{26c409cc-ae86-11d1-b616-00805fc79216} an below
  3. Reboot.
  4. Verify that things are working by running

vssadmin list writers vssadmin list providers.

and then in the services.msc list of services snap ins, make sure the following services are Started Automatically:

  1. COM+ System Application
  2. Distributed Transaction Coordinator
  3. Volume Shadow Copy
  4. VMware Physical Disk Helper Service

Automatically but not started:

  1. Microsoft Software Shadow Copy Provider
  2. VMware Snapshot Provider

now the backup is all working great :-)

This is the solution that i tried around myself without uninstalling the VSS Provider support in VMWare tools.

See the following KB URL: _http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?cmd=displayKC&docType=kc&externalId=1009073&sliceId=1&docTypeID=DT_KB_1_1&dialogID=38752513&stateId=0%200%2038754922_

However, when I followed those instructions it just caused a lot of problems so I'm not sure they are compatible with Windows Server 2008. I have sorted out the problems that created but I haven't been able to get the clones to work yet.

I'm not sure if the problems are due to it being Server 2008 or due to it being a DC but it won't work and would appreciate any help.

This is a VM running Windows Server 2008 on VMware ESX 4.0 with vSphere Enterprise Plus.

Thanks in advance.

  • Have you got vmtools installed?
    – Chopper3
    Oct 13, 2010 at 14:18

2 Answers 2


If you disable the VSS provider then there is a good chance that you're not going to get a consistent filesystem on the clones. That's one good reason not to do this. Another problem you have here is that you need to be 100% certain that there's no risk that one of the clones will ever come up on your live environment - that will be a very bad thing. If you restore one of those clones in a production environment (ie with any other DC still active) then you risk triggering USN rollback - see this technet article for more info and Zoredache's answer in this earlier ServerFault question.

The best way to handle this is to create another VM, and as JakeRobinson said follow the standard procedures with dcpromo and let it sync itself up. You can keep this online, or keep it mostly offline and let it sync periodically if you wish, but this way you don't run any risk with corrupting the AD databases.


Not to de-rail the question, but I think creating a new 2008 VM, doing a dcpromo and letting domain synchronization do it's job is a much better idea. Cloning domain controllers is generally not advised.

  • I also use the BDC for DFS-R that I would want included in the clone so as not to lose those files in a worst case scenario.
    – Luniz
    Oct 12, 2010 at 15:41
  • 1
    OK, so add DFS to the new DC and configure just as you did the first two.
    – joeqwerty
    Oct 12, 2010 at 23:52
  • So are you saying that you think if I make a new DC that I won't have problem with cloning the system?
    – Luniz
    Oct 13, 2010 at 11:43
  • Make a new DC, dcpromo, add DFS, let everything sync up. Oct 14, 2010 at 14:11

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