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Windows Server Backup failing to back up Exchange Server 2013 RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hi,

    I have a client with three Exchange 2013 servers, two new ones in a DAG (see details on issues around DNS errors for these in this thread https://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/office/en-US/e6d86a6a-0fba-47c0-b8b0-2ffd36f0d0f4/adding-exchange-servers-getting-certificate-errors?forum=exchangesvrdeploy). That problem is now resolved. 
    As these servers are temporary, the client is moving to Office 365, they didn't want to add them to their Veeam backup, and instead asked me to set up a local backup using Windows Server Backup in Windows Server 2012 R2. I've set up a scheduled backup of each server to a local, internal drive (non-removable). Backup of both new servers fail with "The mounted backup volume is inaccessible". Troubleshooting steps taken with no effect:

    1. Changed backup times to happen at different times in the evening. 

    2. Renamed the windowsimagebackup folder in case the backup catalog was corrupt.

    3. Ran vssadmin list writers - the Exchange writer is in "retryable error" state. Restarted server, vssadmin list writer now listed Exchange writer as No error - then ran a manual backup which failed with the same error, and the Exchange writer now reports Retryable error again. 

    Suggestions? 


    Paul Schnackenburg MCSA, MCSA, MCTS, MCITP, MCT

    Friday, July 3, 2020 6:02 AM

Answers

  • Hi again Ashok,

    Thanks for keeping at this. I followed the instructions in the first article link to change the QueryLogRangeTimeoutInMsec to 120 seconds and restart the replication service - still no luck with the backup. Note that I'm trying this on one server at the moment, the one where the passive copy of the DAG database is and they're right next to each other, not in separate sites as that article talks about. Anyway - no change.

    The second article "fixed" the Retryable error for the Exchange writer because it simply got rid of it in the list when I run vssadmin list writers - backup still won't run though, same error message. It's like the VHD that's attached to the VM as the backup destination just isn't working properly but I can open it in File Explorer and I can see the windowsimagebackup folder that Windows Server Backup creates (as the it succeeds in backing up the UEFI partition, 95 MB).  

    Any other ideas?


    Paul Schnackenburg MCSA, MCSA, MCTS, MCITP, MCT

    So lets eliminate that destination drive and choose a full backup and a remote shared folder and enter a UNC path if you have the space available somewhere else. ( I assume the local F: drive has ample space, yes?)

    • Marked as answer by PaulSchnack Thursday, July 9, 2020 7:31 AM
    Monday, July 6, 2020 12:25 PM
  • Thanks Andy,

    Yes, the local drive attached to the VM has ample space for the backups. 

    I just changed the backup to go to a shared folder and it's running fine, hence the backup failures has something to do with the virtual hard disk attached to the VM. 

    It's a 2TB SSD drive that has a SCSI attached VHDX file attached to the VM (there's one in each Hyper-V host), formatted with NTFS. 

    I think the simplest way to fix this is just to create a shared folder on the drive in the Hyper-V host and use that as a backup target, rather than trying to figure out why the drive isn't playing nice with Windows Server Backup. 

    Will try that and let you know how it goes,

    Paul


    Paul Schnackenburg MCSA, MCSA, MCTS, MCITP, MCT

    Great, so this isolates the issue is with the destination drive and not on the exchange databases.

    Thanks,
    Ashok M My blog
    ________________________________________________________________
    Please mark the reply as an answer if you find it is helpful :-)
    ________________________________________________________________

    • Marked as answer by PaulSchnack Thursday, July 9, 2020 7:31 AM
    Wednesday, July 8, 2020 1:04 PM

All replies

  • Hi,

    Based on the error message, it looks like the issue with windows server backup unable to access the volume.

    Similar error message has been addressed in this thread,

    https://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/ie/en-US/97d2aa31-6e8e-4543-b85a-568837de7a9f/the-mounted-backup-volume-is-inaccessible?forum=windowsbackup

    Please check if that solution helps.

    Also, for Exchange backup, are you using the full server or custom?

    https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/exchange/high-availability/disaster-recovery/backup-with-windows-server-backup?view=exchserver-2019

    https://practical365.com/exchange-server/backing-up-exchange-server-2016-using-windows-server-backup/

    Please Note: Since the web site is not hosted by Microsoft, the link may change without notice. Microsoft does not guarantee the accuracy of this information.


    Thanks,
    Ashok M My blog
    ________________________________________________________________
    Please mark the reply as an answer if you find it is helpful :-)
    ________________________________________________________________

    Sunday, July 5, 2020 6:48 AM
  • Hi Ashok,

    Thanks for your reply. 

    Following your first link I ran "wbadmin delete catalog" and recreated the scheduled backup and ran it manually, it failed again with the same error. 

    I'm doing a custom backup (since I want to exclude the F: drive that is being used as the backup target). I've also made sure I'm doing a Full VSS backup (to make sure the logs are truncated). 

    Note that the EFI system partition backs up OK (and always have), hence 95MB is backed up but the backup of the other drives and the Exchange database has never succeeded on either server. 

    Any idea why the Exchange writer is in a Retryable Error and how to fix it?

    Thanks again for your help,

    Paul


    Paul Schnackenburg MCSA, MCSA, MCTS, MCITP, MCT

    Sunday, July 5, 2020 7:58 AM
  • Hi Ashok,

    Thanks for your reply. 

    Following your first link I ran "wbadmin delete catalog" and recreated the scheduled backup and ran it manually, it failed again with the same error. 

    I'm doing a custom backup (since I want to exclude the F: drive that is being used as the backup target). I've also made sure I'm doing a Full VSS backup (to make sure the logs are truncated). 

    Note that the EFI system partition backs up OK (and always have), hence 95MB is backed up but the backup of the other drives and the Exchange database has never succeeded on either server. 

    Any idea why the Exchange writer is in a Retryable Error and how to fix it?

    Thanks again for your help,

    Paul


    Paul Schnackenburg MCSA, MCSA, MCTS, MCITP, MCT

    Is the Destination Drive ( F:) formatted and accessible?
    Sunday, July 5, 2020 11:47 AM
  • Hi (again) Andy,

    Yes, it is. When I set up the scheduled backup the second time as above, I set the drive to be "shared", rather than dedicated to Windows Server backup, to see if that made any difference (which it didn't). 

    I've been looking to see if there's a fix for the Exchange Writer Retryable error but haven't found anything. To me that looks like it could be part of the problem. If I restart the VM the writer comes up no errors initially but by the time I run a manual backup it's changed to Retryable error again. 


    Paul Schnackenburg MCSA, MCSA, MCTS, MCITP, MCT

    Sunday, July 5, 2020 12:16 PM
  • Hi Ashok,

    Thanks for your reply. 

    Following your first link I ran "wbadmin delete catalog" and recreated the scheduled backup and ran it manually, it failed again with the same error. 

    I'm doing a custom backup (since I want to exclude the F: drive that is being used as the backup target). I've also made sure I'm doing a Full VSS backup (to make sure the logs are truncated). 

    Note that the EFI system partition backs up OK (and always have), hence 95MB is backed up but the backup of the other drives and the Exchange database has never succeeded on either server. 

    Any idea why the Exchange writer is in a Retryable Error and how to fix it?

    Thanks again for your help,

    Paul


    Paul Schnackenburg MCSA, MCSA, MCTS, MCITP, MCT

    For the Microsoft Exchange writer Retryable error, you can restart the Microsoft Exchange Information store service. But for the cause, need to review the event logs - Application and system for VSS for any errors.

    Windows server backup is using the Microsoft Exchange writer which means its using the Information Store service and in turn trying to take the backup of the Active database.

    Does the server host both the active and passive copied of the mailbox databases? Its recommended to take the backup of the passive copies.

    You can the solutions from the below articles

    https://support.microsoft.com/en-ae/help/4037535/error-vss-e-writererror-retryable-exchange-dag-backup

    https://www.techrepublic.com/blog/tr-dojo/how-to-use-windows-server-backup-with-dag-members/

    Please Note: Since the web site is not hosted by Microsoft, the link may change without notice. Microsoft does not guarantee the accuracy of this information.



    Thanks,
    Ashok M My blog
    ________________________________________________________________
    Please mark the reply as an answer if you find it is helpful :-)
    ________________________________________________________________

    Sunday, July 5, 2020 2:08 PM
  • Hi again Ashok,

    Thanks for keeping at this. I followed the instructions in the first article link to change the QueryLogRangeTimeoutInMsec to 120 seconds and restart the replication service - still no luck with the backup. Note that I'm trying this on one server at the moment, the one where the passive copy of the DAG database is and they're right next to each other, not in separate sites as that article talks about. Anyway - no change.

    The second article "fixed" the Retryable error for the Exchange writer because it simply got rid of it in the list when I run vssadmin list writers - backup still won't run though, same error message. It's like the VHD that's attached to the VM as the backup destination just isn't working properly but I can open it in File Explorer and I can see the windowsimagebackup folder that Windows Server Backup creates (as the it succeeds in backing up the UEFI partition, 95 MB).  

    Any other ideas?


    Paul Schnackenburg MCSA, MCSA, MCTS, MCITP, MCT

    Monday, July 6, 2020 11:47 AM
  • Hi again Ashok,

    Thanks for keeping at this. I followed the instructions in the first article link to change the QueryLogRangeTimeoutInMsec to 120 seconds and restart the replication service - still no luck with the backup. Note that I'm trying this on one server at the moment, the one where the passive copy of the DAG database is and they're right next to each other, not in separate sites as that article talks about. Anyway - no change.

    The second article "fixed" the Retryable error for the Exchange writer because it simply got rid of it in the list when I run vssadmin list writers - backup still won't run though, same error message. It's like the VHD that's attached to the VM as the backup destination just isn't working properly but I can open it in File Explorer and I can see the windowsimagebackup folder that Windows Server Backup creates (as the it succeeds in backing up the UEFI partition, 95 MB).  

    Any other ideas?


    Paul Schnackenburg MCSA, MCSA, MCTS, MCITP, MCT

    So lets eliminate that destination drive and choose a full backup and a remote shared folder and enter a UNC path if you have the space available somewhere else. ( I assume the local F: drive has ample space, yes?)

    • Marked as answer by PaulSchnack Thursday, July 9, 2020 7:31 AM
    Monday, July 6, 2020 12:25 PM
  • Thanks Andy,

    Yes, the local drive attached to the VM has ample space for the backups. 

    I just changed the backup to go to a shared folder and it's running fine, hence the backup failures has something to do with the virtual hard disk attached to the VM. 

    It's a 2TB SSD drive that has a SCSI attached VHDX file attached to the VM (there's one in each Hyper-V host), formatted with NTFS. 

    I think the simplest way to fix this is just to create a shared folder on the drive in the Hyper-V host and use that as a backup target, rather than trying to figure out why the drive isn't playing nice with Windows Server Backup. 

    Will try that and let you know how it goes,

    Paul


    Paul Schnackenburg MCSA, MCSA, MCTS, MCITP, MCT

    Wednesday, July 8, 2020 11:18 AM
  • Thanks Andy,

    Yes, the local drive attached to the VM has ample space for the backups. 

    I just changed the backup to go to a shared folder and it's running fine, hence the backup failures has something to do with the virtual hard disk attached to the VM. 

    It's a 2TB SSD drive that has a SCSI attached VHDX file attached to the VM (there's one in each Hyper-V host), formatted with NTFS. 

    I think the simplest way to fix this is just to create a shared folder on the drive in the Hyper-V host and use that as a backup target, rather than trying to figure out why the drive isn't playing nice with Windows Server Backup. 

    Will try that and let you know how it goes,

    Paul


    Paul Schnackenburg MCSA, MCSA, MCTS, MCITP, MCT

    Ok, cool. I dont have a thumbs up icon, but it sounds at least you can get these backed up somehow.
    Wednesday, July 8, 2020 11:54 AM
  • Thanks Andy,

    Yes, the local drive attached to the VM has ample space for the backups. 

    I just changed the backup to go to a shared folder and it's running fine, hence the backup failures has something to do with the virtual hard disk attached to the VM. 

    It's a 2TB SSD drive that has a SCSI attached VHDX file attached to the VM (there's one in each Hyper-V host), formatted with NTFS. 

    I think the simplest way to fix this is just to create a shared folder on the drive in the Hyper-V host and use that as a backup target, rather than trying to figure out why the drive isn't playing nice with Windows Server Backup. 

    Will try that and let you know how it goes,

    Paul


    Paul Schnackenburg MCSA, MCSA, MCTS, MCITP, MCT

    Great, so this isolates the issue is with the destination drive and not on the exchange databases.

    Thanks,
    Ashok M My blog
    ________________________________________________________________
    Please mark the reply as an answer if you find it is helpful :-)
    ________________________________________________________________

    • Marked as answer by PaulSchnack Thursday, July 9, 2020 7:31 AM
    Wednesday, July 8, 2020 1:04 PM