TrueImage doesn't support Volume Shadow Copy?

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by Vanguard, Jul 2, 2007.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Vanguard

    Vanguard Registered Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2003
    Posts:
    69
    The included help in TrueImage is not searchable so this might be there but not easy found without having to manually wade through the tree nodes. Sure be nice if Acronis looked at other Windows programs to realize that Index and Search tabs in help are not just fluff but necessities for help.

    I perform a full backup. It takes 1 hour 30 minutes to backup (with compression and validation) 32GB at high priority where the backup location is another internal hard drive. It ran overnight so when I return I see a prompt that says the backup has completed. Wrong, there are still prompts waiting for me to answer about files it couldn't read or were locked.

    Locked files? Hasn't Acronis heard of the Volume Shadow Copy service? The VSC service is currently set to Manual mode which means it is enabled and will start when a caller asks for it. After the TI claims the backup operation has complete (which is false), it issues errors with prompt like the following (which was copied from Event Viewer):

    Event Type: Error
    Event Source: Acronis*True*Image*Home
    Event Category: (4)
    Event ID: 1
    Date: 7/2/2007
    Time: 9:41:07 AM
    User: N/A
    Computer: ZODIAC
    Description:
    The description for Event ID ( 1 ) in Source ( Acronis*True*Image*Home ) cannot be found. The local computer may not have the necessary registry information or message DLL files to display messages from a remote computer. You may be able to use the /AUXSOURCE= flag to retrieve this description; see Help and Support for details. The following information is part of the event: Failed to backup file or folder 'C:\Program Files\Movie Maker'.
    This file or folder is locked by the following process:<endl/><vpad/>\??\C:\WINDOWS\system32\winlogon.exe<vpad/>Please stop the process and click <bold>Retry</bold> to take another attempt to backup.: Retry/Ignore/Cancel.

    So, let's see. TI doesn't use the Volume Shadow Copy service to make static copies of files that currently have open file handles on them or are otherwise locked. It says the backup operation is complete and yet continues to display prompts to have the user Retry or Cancel. I'm supposed to kill the winlogon.exe process which has a lock on a file and yet that means killing the current Windows session (i.e., my logon) which would make those prompt disappear so I couldn't respond to them, anyway (go read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winlogon on the winlogon.exe process).

    It's pretty stupid that any backup program that claims to support an NT-based version of Windows can't manage to support the Volume Copy Shadow service (VSS) that has been around since Windows 2000; go read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volume_Shadow_Copy_Service on why it should be used by any and all backup programs running under Windows. I expected having to *pay* for a backup program would mean that is has MORE features than the old NT Backup program. Because a service set to Manual must be sent a start request, that request would show up in Event Viewer. There were no "VSS" events during the full backup performed by TrueImage.

    - TI issues prompts on unreadable or locked files which remain displayed after it also reports the backup operation has completed. There is no option to shut it up (i.e., silent mode) as there will be no users around when the backups are scheduled to run overnight.

    - TI Home doesn't use VSS to ensure that it backs up from a static copy of the volume, so locked files cannot be backed up. It also means that files which are dependent to each other can get out of sync because of changes made in the time between when each got backed up.

    - TI requires me to logoff my Windows session to answer a prompt about a file that is locked by the winlogon.exe process. But logging off means that I won't have the prompt anymore to answer it. Yet another reason why VSS support is mandatory for any Windows backup program.

    Yes, I've seen some messages about TrueImage Server and VSS but any and all *client* backup programs should also support VSS. After all, a server is going to run a client on the remote host so that client needs to support VSS. If TI Home, as the client, cannot support VSS which the old NT Backup program has for years then TI Home is not a viable backup solution.
     
  2. random110

    random110 Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2007
    Posts:
    73
    Wow. That is quite the rant. :blink:

    Firstly, Acronis products suporting VSS:
    * Acronis True Image 9.1 Workstation
    * Acronis True Image 9.1 Server for Windows
    * Acronis True Image 9.1 Enterprise Server

    In general, Acronis takes a snap shot of the hard drive in a few seconds, for that time all read/write operations are queued, after the snap shot is taken, read/write operations are being resumed.

    If there is no database running on the system, we generally don't need to worry about VSS. Databases are the most known sensitive structures to get corrupted if they are backed up being opened with no precautions like VSS.

    I'm sure most of the Forum users are thankful for your handy Wikipedia references. However, I did a bit of investigating and found some 'slightly' more complete information regarding VSS and how it is used by Acronis.

    I am well aware that this information does not solve your particular problem. There are much more clever people then me on this Forum that will perhaps be able to do that.

    I would suggest that if you do require VSS for your specific backups, then you purchase the ATI 9.1 Workstation. I personally use ATI 10 Home and it has never had a problem like yours.

    -----------------------------

    Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) provides the backup infrastructure for Microsoft Windows XP and Microsoft Windows Server 2003 operating systems, as well as a mechanism for creating consistent point-in-time copies of data known as shadow copies.

    Previous to the Volume Shadow Copy Service and its standard set of extensible application programming interfaces (APIs), there was no standard way to produce "clean" (uncorrupted) snapshots of a volume. Snapshots often contained corruptions due to torn writes that required the use of utilities such as chkdsk.exe to repair. Torn writes occur when an unplanned event (such as a power failure) prevents the system from completely writing a block of data to disk. The Volume Shadow Copy Service APIs prevent torn writes by enabling applications to flush partially committed data from memory.

    Volume Shadow Copy Service has native support for creating consistent shadow copies across multiple volumes, regardless of the snapshot technology or application. The Volume Shadow Copy Service can produce consistent shadow copies by coordinating with business applications, file-system services, backup applications, fast recovery solutions, and storage hardware. Several features in the Windows Server 2003 operating systems use Volume Shadow Copy Service, including shadow copies for shared folders and backup.

    Additional information about MS VSS can be found at

    http://technet2.microsoft.com/windo...709a-4eb8-8cbc-ad9655de91ba1033.mspx?mfr=true

    Information on what VSS writer, VSS provider and VSS requestor are can be found at

    http://searchexchange.techtarget.com/originalContent/0,289142,sid43_gci1021176,00.html

    Starting from version 9.1 Acronis True Image provides technology to automatically utilize MS VSS service in order to perform consistent backups of opened files/folders or databases (in case a database supports VSS technology).

    Acronis Implimentation

    Here are step-by-step actions performed by Acronis True Image if the backup is made with the VSS support option enabled.

    1. Acronis True Image initiates VSS snapshot. This snapshot is created by MS VSS service via Acronis VSS provider, which is in fact a 'fake' VSS provider. Acronis True Image must start VSS snapshot creation through Acronis VSS provider in order to capture the moment when all writers are frozen and databases are ready for backup. This is the only purpose of Acronis VSS provider, e.g. VSS snapshot created in this step is not used at all and is in fact a 'fake' one.
    It was necessary to create this 'fake' VSS provider because MS VSS service does not have API functions to freeze VSS writers directly.
    2. Acronis True Image sends a request to MS VSS service to suspend VSS writers.
    3. Acronis True Image creates a simple snapshot (do not mix up simple snapshot with VSS snapshot). This snapshot is created when all writers are frozen and databases are ready to be backed up.
    4. Acronis True Image aborts VSS snapshot initiated by MS VSS, as this snapshot is not necessary. This may result in errors in the Event logs, which can be safely skipped. Please take a look at the sample log from Event Viewer with similar errors.
    5. Acronis True Image initiates a backup through the simple snapshot created in step 3.

    Although this information may not help you (other than hopefully providing some pause to future rants) I hope some of the other contributors may find it interesting.
     
  3. jmk94903

    jmk94903 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2004
    Posts:
    3,329
    Location:
    San Rafael, CA
    And if you set the VSC service to Automatic?
     
  4. como

    como Registered Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2004
    Posts:
    498
    Not knowing anything about shadow copy and never knowingly used it, I would suggest that TrueImage Home which is intended for home users and not for computers running databases is not the correct version to use.
    I would hope that if I was in a position to require backup software to work with shadow copy and databases I would have investigated the options thoroughly that Acronis offer before purchasing any software
     
  5. Vanguard

    Vanguard Registered Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2003
    Posts:
    69
    A service that isn't supported within the backup program won't be called to do anything regarding those backups. If TI Home doesn't support using VSS during backups than it doesn't matter if VSS was set to Disabled, Manual, or Automatic.
     
  6. Vanguard

    Vanguard Registered Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2003
    Posts:
    69
    That's the conclusion that I was coming to. I could find articles describing VSS support in True Image but in the server version. Pretty hard to qualify spending the higher cost of a server version (or a workstation version) just to get VSS support when there are cheaper products that do it.

    Regarding the database, I do have MS SQLexpress installed but it isn't running (yet I do see messages about read problems during the backups although I have ran "chkdsk /r c:" but not enough info is provided for me to investigate the read error). There are other products that use databases. I use ClipMate as a substitute for the lowly clipboard in Windows and it has a database. There are many programs that incorporate their own internal or private database. In my particular error (and others not mentioned here), the file that was locked was not involved in a database.

    I'll keep Acronis around for saving partition images but I may have to go back to using NT Backup because of its VSS support. I have the Veritas Backup Exec if I want to use a non-crippled version of NT Backup (which Veritas sold to Stomp Inc where it became Backup MyPC who changed to Migo Software where it is now called PC Backup). I forget why I quit using Backup Exec Desktop (probably stopped working) and I didn't want to buy the upgrade from Stomp/Migo and thought TrueImage Home would have the same or better functionality as the other personal backup solutions.

    So, for now, TI Home will be used for saving partition images and I'll have to rethink my logical file backup solution. Thanks for the info.
     
  7. djdill

    djdill Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2007
    Posts:
    4
    @ random110

    We have having lots of Errors in the app logs for VSS and SQL writers. You have posted saying the we can expect errors... can you please post the samples so I can see if they are the same

    Thank you

    Dj Dill
     
  8. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2004
    Posts:
    25,885
    Hello Vanguard,

    Thank you for choosing Acronis Disk Backup Software.

    Please notice that random110 is correct: versions of Acronis True Image that support Volume Shadow Copy Service are Acronis True Image 9.1 Workstation, Acronis True Image 9.1 Server for Windows and Acronis True Image 9.1 Enterprise Server.

    Regarding the error messages you receive:
    Please make sure you use the latest build (4942) of Acronis True Image 10.0 Home. To get access to updates you should first register your software.

    If updating doesn't solve the problem, please download the latest version of Acronis drivers, unpack the archive and install unpacked MSI package.

    If the issue persists, please collect some information to let us investigate it thoroughly:

    - Replace C:\WINDOWS\system32\snapapi.dll with the one from the downloaded SnapAPI archive;
    - Reproduce the issue and collect the log file without closing any application windows (including the error message windows if there are any). The log file will be created at C:\ . The name of the log file will be snapapi [date-time].log

    Please create Acronis Report and Windows System Information as it is described in Acronis Help Post.

    Please make a screen shot of the Device Tree application the way described in this previous post of mine.

    Please note that the application may crash the system when you exit, so we recommend you to save all your work and close other programs prior to running it.

    Please also collect the application log of the operation:
    - run the program;
    - select Show log on the toolbar or from the Tools menu;
    - select the log with error messages;
    - click "Save the log entry to file" (the diskette icon).

    Then submit a request for technical support. Attach all the collected files and information to your request along with the step-by-step description of the actions taken before the problem appears and the link to this thread. We will investigate the problem and try to provide you with a solution.

    Thank you.
    --
    Marat Setdikov
     
  9. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2004
    Posts:
    25,885
  10. djdill

    djdill Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2007
    Posts:
    4
  11. Vanguard

    Vanguard Registered Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2003
    Posts:
    69
    Went through the registration so I could get the update (which seems really a full install due to the 104MB downloaded file size).

    As of July 19, I changed my scheduled tasks to eliminate doing logical file backups with full and incremental tasks. I switched to doing image backups (although they seem to be logical rather than physical sector-by-sector) and haven't had the errors reappear. Unfortunately, because the old logical file backups were deleted (so disk quota would be enforced for the new set of image backups in the backup locations) when I switched to image backups, the old logs for them were also deleted.

    Since switching to image backups (incremental with a full after every 6th incremental image backup), I do not see any errors in the logfiles maintained by TI Home.

    The switch to saving images (full and incremental) was on July 19. I looked in the Event Viewer and do see error for TI Home on July 19 and before that but none afterward. From the Applications log in Event Viewer for the errors that occurred on July 19 (last day for logical file backups):

    Event Type: Error
    Event Source: Acronis Test Program
    Event Category: (14)
    Event ID: 3
    Date: 7/19/2007
    Time: 1:50:47 AM
    User: N/A
    Computer: ZODIAC
    Description:
    The description for Event ID ( 3 ) in Source ( Acronis Test Program ) cannot be found. The local computer may not have the necessary registry information or message DLL files to display messages from a remote computer. You may be able to use the /AUXSOURCE= flag to retrieve this description; see Help and Support for details. The following information is part of the event: Member not found (0xE0003)
    token = "Fomatik.DataWalkerDynamic.Host"
    Tag = 0x298D61E7C0088C31.

    Event Type: Error
    Event Source: Acronis Test Program
    Event Category: (14)
    Event ID: 11
    Date: 7/19/2007
    Time: 1:50:39 AM
    User: N/A
    Computer: ZODIAC
    Description:
    The description for Event ID ( 11 ) in Source ( Acronis Test Program ) cannot be found. The local computer may not have the necessary registry information or message DLL files to display messages from a remote computer. You may be able to use the /AUXSOURCE= flag to retrieve this description; see Help and Support for details. The following information is part of the event: Member invoke failed (0xE000B)
    token = "Fomatik.Export.ParseUriResource"
    Tag = 0x298D61E7C0088C79
    Given URI is empty (0x260001)
    Tag = 0x2904AD1EB097FB95.

    Event Type: Error
    Event Source: Acronis Test Program
    Event Category: (3:cool:
    Event ID: 1
    Date: 7/19/2007
    Time: 1:50:39 AM
    User: N/A
    Computer: ZODIAC
    Description:
    The description for Event ID ( 1 ) in Source ( Acronis Test Program ) cannot be found. The local computer may not have the necessary registry information or message DLL files to display messages from a remote computer. You may be able to use the /AUXSOURCE= flag to retrieve this description; see Help and Support for details. The following information is part of the event: Given URI is empty (0x260001)
    Tag = 0x2904AD1EB097FB95.

    Event Type: Error
    Event Source: Acronis Test Program
    Event Category: (3:cool:
    Event ID: 1
    Date: 7/19/2007
    Time: 1:50:39 AM
    User: N/A
    Computer: ZODIAC
    Description:
    The description for Event ID ( 1 ) in Source ( Acronis Test Program ) cannot be found. The local computer may not have the necessary registry information or message DLL files to display messages from a remote computer. You may be able to use the /AUXSOURCE= flag to retrieve this description; see Help and Support for details. The following information is part of the event: Given URI is empty (0x260001)
    Tag = 0x2904AD1EB097FB95.

    There were 13 total that show up at the same time in the apps log but I didn't bother to show them all here. I did find an app error in the log where TI Home couldn't read a locked file, which was:

    Event Type: Error
    Event Source: Acronis*True*Image*Home
    Event Category: (4)
    Event ID: 1
    Date: 7/17/2007
    Time: 6:55:07 AM
    User: N/A
    Computer: ZODIAC
    Description:
    The description for Event ID ( 1 ) in Source ( Acronis*True*Image*Home ) cannot be found. The local computer may not have the necessary registry information or message DLL files to display messages from a remote computer. You may be able to use the /AUXSOURCE= flag to retrieve this description; see Help and Support for details. The following information is part of the event: Failed to backup file or folder 'C:\WINDOWS'.
    This file or folder is locked by the following processes: "\SystemRoot\System32\smss.exe", "\??\C:\WINDOWS\system32\winlogon.exe", "C:\WINDOWS\system32\taskmgr.exe". Please stop the processes and click <bold>Retry</bold> to take another attempt to backup.: Retry/Ignore/Cancel.

    Since I'm not at the computer when backups are scheduled to run at 3AM, and since winlogon.exe cannot be killed, anyway, this was typical of errors when doing logical file backups. Another one was:

    Event Type: Error
    Event Source: Acronis*True*Image*Home
    Event Category: (4)
    Event ID: 1
    Date: 7/17/2007
    Time: 6:55:04 AM
    User: N/A
    Computer: ZODIAC
    Description:
    The description for Event ID ( 1 ) in Source ( Acronis*True*Image*Home ) cannot be found. The local computer may not have the necessary registry information or message DLL files to display messages from a remote computer. You may be able to use the /AUXSOURCE= flag to retrieve this description; see Help and Support for details. The following information is part of the event: Failed to backup file or folder 'C:\Tools\VirtualDub'.
    Error reading the file. (0x40001)
    Tag = 0x61F1883FE50B0A2F
    (0x1003EB)
    Tag = 0x14181C22EF45AC00: Retry/Ignore/Cancel.

    I wasn't even using the VirtualDub program so I haven't a clue why TI Home failed to read the files under that directory (the error really doesn't say which file it couldn't read but only mentions the directory).

    These errors occurred when I was using the prior version of TI Home (sorry, can't tell you what it was since I already applied the "update") and when I was executing logical file backups (full and incremental). The errors disappeared with that prior version of TI Home when I switched to doing image backups (full and incremental). I just applied the update but then going to image backups got rid of the errors during the last week since the change.
     
  12. shieber

    shieber Registered Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2004
    Posts:
    3,710
    Yes, ATI updates have always been the full package rather than just patch files.

     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.