Disabling specific VSS writers with VMware Tools
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Disabling specific VSS writers with VMware Tools


Article ID: 325342


Updated On:


VMware VMware vSphere ESXi


With vSphere 4.0, VMware introduced the ability to disable specificVSS writers for the benefit of troubleshooting a specific VSS writer issue.
If you experience an issue backing up a specific virtual machine using snapshot technology and you have identified an issue with a specific VSS writer within the virtual machine, this article explains how to disable that VSS writer from being called during a snapshot operation.


VMware ESX 4.1.x
VMware Data Recovery 1.x
VMware vSphere ESXi 5.1
VMware vSphere ESXi 5.5
VMware Consolidated Backup 1.5.x
VMware ESXi 4.0.x Embedded
VMware ESXi 4.1.x Installable
VMware ESXi 4.0.x Installable
VMware ESXi 4.1.x Embedded
VMware vSphere ESXi 5.0
VMware vSphere ESXi 6.0
VMware ESX 4.0.x


To disable a specific VSS writer being called during a snapshot operation:

  1. Determine the name of the VSS writer that you want to exclude from the snapshot operation. Run this command from within Windows:

    vssadmin list writers

    Note: With Windows Vista, 7, and 2008 the command prompt may need to be run with administrator elevation.

    You see output similar to:

    Writer name: 'Task Scheduler Writer'
    Writer Id: {d61d61c8-d73a-4eee-8cdd-f6f9786b7124}
    Writer Instance Id: {1bddd48e-5052-49db-9b07-b96f96727e6b}
    State: [1] Stable
    Last error: No error

    Note: The name of the VSS Writer is highlighted.

    Microsoft documentation on the vssadmin utility can be found at http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc754968%28WS.10%29.aspx

  2. Create or edit the vmbackup.conf file which is located at %ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Application Data\VMware\VMware Tools\ .

    Note: If the vmbackup.conf file does not exist then create it.

  3. Place the name of the VSS writer you want to disable on a separate line. If you want to disable more than one VSS writer, ensure that you place each VSS writer name on a separate line. For example:

    Task Scheduler Writer
    Microsoft Exchange Replica Writer
    Microsoft Exchange Writer

  4. Restart the VMware Tools service.
  5. When the writer issue has been resolved, you can remove the offending writer from the vmbackup.conf file.

Note: VMware does not provide these VSS writers. Engage the provider of the VSS writer to troubleshoot the writer issue to ensure application consistency with the writer.

Additional Information

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