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Troubleshoot: How to fix Error 0x8000FFFF and Event ID 12302 while running "vssadmin list writers" command on a Windows Server

Brief description:
The Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) backups of Microsoft Exchange-aware are supported for both “active storage groups and databases” and “passive storage groups and databases”. We can grub up a VSS only solution as it is the passive copy backup solution from Microsoft and it is usually implemented by the Exchange Replica VSS Writer that is one of the parts of a Replication service. Besides, the streaming backups are also supported only from the active storage groups. We can’t use the streaming backup APIs to back up a replica database as a VSS backup program must be used together with a VSS Requestor for the Exchange writer.
One of the major advantages of Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 is that we can run two different VSS backup jobs against the same Exchange Server. Moreover, the Exchange 2007 Writer lets you restore the Exchange data to an alternative location. But unfortunately, the Exchange 2003 Writer doesn’t allow you to target VSS restore options to any other location other than the original one.
By using the Exchange Writer, VSS backups can’t be restored to the replica location. However, we can restore them to an alternative location such as the replica copy directory.

The Store.exe VSS writer in Exchange 2007 enables the restore operations to any storage group as this encompasses the recovery storage groups (RSG). At the same time, the Store.exe VSS writer enables the restoration of databases to a folder location that isn’t associated with a storage group.
Now, let’s move to the troubleshooting measure.
Usually, the command “vssadmin list writers” lists the subscribed volume shadow copy writers. There are certain possibilities that we may confront any of the following error messages while running the “vssadmin list writers” command on a Windows Server 2003 environment.
•    The following event may be logged in the Application log:
Event Type: Error
Event Source: VSS
Event ID: 12302

Volume Shadow Copy Service error: An internal inconsistency was detected in trying to contact shadow copy service writers. Please check to see that the Event Service and Volume Shadow Copy Service are operating properly.
•    The list is blank.

•    You receive the following error message:
Error: 0x8000FFFF
Possible cause:
If the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\EventSystem\{26c409cc-ae86-11d1-b616-00805fc79216}\Subscriptions registry key is corrupted, the issue may occur.
Possible resolution:
There are certain steps available to troubleshoot this issue. The first one is that you can download and install the “Fix” from the Microsoft website. The other one is that performing the manual troubleshooting steps.

How to troubleshoot this issue manually?
This part contains the steps about editing the registry. Incorrectly modifying the registry may cause some serious problems and it might require reinstalling the operating system. Therefore, ensure that you follow the steps correctly. At the same time, if you wish to backup the registry, do it before making any modification to it. Then, you can restore the registry if a problem occurs or whenever you want.
1.    Click start and type “regedit” in the run box.
2.    Now, click OK to open the registry window.
3.    Then, it is required to navigate to the following registry subkey:

4.    Now, on the Edit menu, select “Delete” and click “Yes” to delete the subkey.
5.    Exit the Registry Editor.
6.    After that, click “Start” and type services.msc in the run box.
7.    Now, click OK to open the services window.
8.    Then, it is required to restart all the following services one by one.
1.    COM+ Event System
2.    COM+ System Application
3.    Microsoft Software Shadow Copy Provider
4.    Volume Shadow Copy
9.    Once you restart the above processes, again click start and type cmd in the run box to open the command window.
10.    Now, in the command prompt window, it is required to type vssadmin list writers, and then press the enter key.
11.    Presumably, the VSS writers will be listed. Then, it isn’t required to perform the remaining steps.
12.    In case, no VSS writers are listed, it is required to type following commands on the command prompt and press the enter key after each and every command.
1.    cd /d %windir%\system32
2.    net stop vss
3.    net stop swprv
4.    regsvr32 ole32.dll
5.    regsvr32 oleaut32.dll
6.    regsvr32 /i eventcls.dll
7.    regsvr32 vss_ps.dll
8.    vssvc /register
9.    regsvr32 /i swprv.dll
10.    regsvr32 es.dll
11.    regsvr32 stdprov.dll
12.    regsvr32 vssui.dll
13.    regsvr32 msxml.dll
14.    regsvr32 msxml3.dll
15.    regsvr32 msxml4.dll
Note The last command may not run successfully.
13.    Now, at the command prompt, type vssadmin list writers, and then press the enter key.
14.    That’s it!!

This article is applicable to the following operating systems.
•    Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition (32-bit x86)
•    Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition (32-bit x86)
•    Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Web Edition
•    Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition (32-bit x86)

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