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Should Volume Shadow Copy be running?

This is a discussion on Should Volume Shadow Copy be running? within the Windows 7 , Windows Vista Support forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. I keep having issues with Carbonite backup: it locks up my Outlook pst so I can't open it. Carbonite's response


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Old 04-22-2014, 12:03 PM   #1
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I keep having issues with Carbonite backup: it locks up my Outlook pst so I can't open it. Carbonite's response is my Volume Shadow Copy is corrupt/malfunctioning and that I should re-install Windows.

I have noticed that when I turn on my computer VSS is never on; I always have to start it. Even when I set "startup type" to automatic, it eventually reverts back to manual.

Is this normal? Is it typical for most people to have VSS on or off?

Win 7 64bit
Office 2013
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Old 04-22-2014, 01:41 PM   #2
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The default setting is manual. It will be started as needed. On one machine it's currently running, my other machine it's not.
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Old 04-22-2014, 01:49 PM   #3
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When you say "it will be started as needed", do you mean it should automatically start when 'called upon'? ie. should Carbonite kick it in gear?

On your machine where it's currently running, you're not manually starting it?

I'm trying to see if the fault lies in Carbonite not "starting it as needed", or if the fault lies elsewhere.
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Old 04-22-2014, 02:33 PM   #4
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You must have Carbonite set to back up continuously. When you open Outlook, it gains write access to the pst file, which makes Carbonite think it is changed, so it uses vss to backup in the background, locking access to the pst file.

Change your backup setting from continuous to a scheduled backup.
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Old 04-22-2014, 03:12 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by solarscreen View Post
...so it uses vss to backup in the background, locking access to the pst file.
Isn't the point of vss to NOT lock access to the file?

From Wikipedia: "Snapshots have two primary purposes: they allow the creation of consistent backups of a volume, ensuring that the contents cannot change while the backup is being made; and they avoid problems with file locking. By creating a read-only copy of the volume, backup programs are able to access every file without interfering with other programs writing to those same files."

I believe Carbonite is supposed to work continuously; the recommended setting is, in fact, continuous backup.
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Old 04-22-2014, 03:26 PM   #6
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To clarify normal behavior of the VSS service:

The normal startup type of this service is Manual. Normally any Windows component or application will start it when needed. It can also be started by the user but this should never be necessary. It can also be set to Automatic startup but this serves no useful purpose and will only lengthen (marginally) bootup time.

Regardless of how the service is started it will stop after some period of inactivity. Changing the startup to Automatic only effects whether or not it is started at bootup. After that it will stop and start as needed.

This behavior is not unique to the VSS service but is much the same for a number of other services as well. But do understand that this behavior of starting and stopping as needed is not universal to services set as Manual startup but only to specific services.
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Old 04-22-2014, 06:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by esark33 View Post
Isn't the point of vss to NOT lock access to the file?

From Wikipedia: "Snapshots have two primary purposes: they allow the creation of consistent backups of a volume, ensuring that the contents cannot change while the backup is being made; and they avoid problems with file locking. By creating a read-only copy of the volume, backup programs are able to access every file without interfering with other programs writing to those same files."

I believe Carbonite is supposed to work continuously; the recommended setting is, in fact, continuous backup.
You would correct for the OS, however, many applications and server processes require special modules or additional software to allow background backups that don't lock out that app or service. PST files have several issues and when open by Outlook are not friendly towards standard backup procedures.
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Old 04-23-2014, 11:42 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LMiller7 View Post
To clarify normal behavior of the VSS service:

The normal startup type of this service is Manual. Normally any Windows component or application will start it when needed. It can also be started by the user but this should never be necessary. It can also be set to Automatic startup but this serves no useful purpose and will only lengthen (marginally) bootup time.

Regardless of how the service is started it will stop after some period of inactivity. Changing the startup to Automatic only effects whether or not it is started at bootup. After that it will stop and start as needed.

This behavior is not unique to the VSS service but is much the same for a number of other services as well. But do understand that this behavior of starting and stopping as needed is not universal to services set as Manual startup but only to specific services.
So it's apparent that Carbonite is not starting VSS as needed. The question is whether it's Carbonite that's faulty or my VSS, correct?

How do I determine which? Is there another application I can try that normally would start VSS?
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Old 04-23-2014, 01:41 PM   #9
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I think VSS might be glitchy: I set it to "automatic (delayed start)", and after a short time it switches itself back to "manual".
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