At my workplace we inherited a file server running Windows 2008 R2. (Core server unfortunatly, so no GUI)

Last year we decided it would be nice to have previous versions of files available for users. So we gave VSS a seperate volume, with 10% of the space of the data volume. (300GB and 3TB respectively) We set a scheduled task to take two VSS snapshots per day and everyhting worked fine. Previous versions showed up nicely.

Recently, previous versions just dissappeared and I can't find out why. I checked if administrative shares are working, they are. When i list the VSS writers, all the writers show the stable state, with no last error. And the VSS shadows also show up when you use vssadmin to list them.

The event log sometimes shows some errors from volsnap saying "The flush and hold writes operation on volume D: timed out while waiting for a release writes command." My guess is this is just due to activity while creating the shadows. They are created in any case.

Is there anything else I can check?

We did this on two, nearly identical file servers and on the other one everyhting is still working fine.

  • When you run vssadmin list writers, does it list System Writer?
    – Nixphoe
    Mar 28, 2014 at 18:52
  • @Nixphoe System Writer is present in the list. Mar 31, 2014 at 11:30

2 Answers 2


We have several servers running VSS and had two instances where VSS just stopped working, and it was due to a snapshot gone wrong.

I would turn off VSS, format the partition, and turn it back on, and you will probably find it will work fine again.

  • I removed all shadows, stopped the VSS service. Formatted the VSS volume, started VSS and created a shadow. But the problem persists. Mar 31, 2014 at 13:52

A little late to the party, but thought I'd add this in case it helps anyone.

Make sure TCP/IP Netbios Helper service is running. This enabled me to see the previous versions on the server.

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