Veeam cannot see ReFS 3.1 volumes in backup (Server 2012 R2)

We had a problem recent where Veeam 9.5 which was installed on Windows 2012 R2 trying to restore from Exchange 2016 on Server 2016 with ReFS datastores.

It turns out, Server 2012 R2 cannot recognise ReFS 3.1 which is on Server 2016. From the screenshot below, this backup is missing two drives which are ReFS:

When logging in to the Exchange server, you will see the correct drives

To fix this you really only have one option: Install Veeam B&R on Server 2016, or at the bare minimum, the mount points on Server 2016.

Once you have a Server 2016 mount point, you will be able to see the ReFS drives.

Veeam Backup Fails: VSS Writer Errror 0x800423f4 (Azure AD Connect)

Hi Guys.

An interesting issue over the last few days. Our backup logs have had the following failures in Veeam.

Unable to release guest. Error: Unfreeze error (over VIX): [Backup job failed. Cannot create a shadow copy of the volumes containing writer's data. A VSS critical writer has failed. Writer name: [SqlServerWriter]. Class ID: [{a65faa63-5ea8-4ebc-9dbd-a0c4db26912a}]. Instance ID: [{6323fe10-0205-47df-b015-4a5ff60c31e2}]. Writer's state: [VSS_WS_FAILED_AT_PREPARE_SNAPSHOT]. Error code: [0x800423f4].]
Error: Unfreeze error (over VIX): [Backup job failed. Cannot create a shadow copy of the volumes containing writer's data. A VSS critical writer has failed. Writer name: [SqlServerWriter]. Class ID: [{a65faa63-5ea8-4ebc-9dbd-a0c4db26912a}]. Instance ID: [{6323fe10-0205-47df-b015-4a5ff60c31e2}]. Writer's state: [VSS_WS_FAILED_AT_PREPARE_SNAPSHOT]. Error code: [0x800423f4].]

Digging through the event logs, you will see errors like the following:

  1. Inital backup
    SQLVDI: Loc=SignalAbort. Desc=Client initiates abort. ErrorCode=(0). Process=19908. Thread=18488. Client. Instance=LOCALDB#SH7A2278. VD=Global\{C7140958-2759-4979-BA55-0E3F258064ED}1_SQLVDIMemoryName_0.

    vpxclient_2016-09-08_13-09-55

  2. Followed by
    A VSS writer has rejected an event with error 0x800423f4, The writer experienced a non-transient error. If the backup process is retried,
    the error is likely to reoccur.
    . Changes that the writer made to the writer components while handling the event will not be available to the requester. Check the event log for related events from the application hosting the VSS writer. 
    
    Operation:
     PrepareForSnapshot Event
    
    Context:
     Execution Context: Writer
     Writer Class Id: {a65faa63-5ea8-4ebc-9dbd-a0c4db26912a}
     Writer Name: SqlServerWriter
     Writer Instance Name: SQL Server Code-Named 'Denali' CTP2:SQLWriter
     Writer Instance ID: {2f97c809-8eb4-431c-93ac-b0f81e610013}
     Command Line: "C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\90\Shared\sqlwriter.exe"
     Process ID: 19908

    mstsc_2016-09-08_13-17-47

    mstsc_2016-09-08_13-18-02

We have found this issue is related to an update of the Microsoft Azure AD Connect client.

On all servers that were affected by this, we had just upgraded to the latest Azure AD Connect client. This seems to corrupt the SQL writer somehow.

We haven’t seen many reports of this. There are various fixes for the 0x800423f4 error, but the easiest fix is to repair the LocalDB SQL instance.

To do this:

  1. Go to Add/Remove Programs
  2. Select Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Express LocalDB
  3. Select Repair
    vpxclient_2016-09-08_13-11-17

Once this is finished, you will need to reboot.

We had this issue with many servers. This process fixed it on everyone.

Microsoft removes features from Windows 10 Professional

Earlier in the month Microsoft announced their new subscription service for Windows 10 Enterprise. Starting at just $7 USD per month, end users are able to subscribe to Windows 10 enterprise on a monthly basis.

This, I  think, is a good move by Microsoft.

However, what is disturbing is what Microsoft is changing on lower tier versions, such as Windows 10 Professional. See the following changes:

Windows 10 changes

I’d say this is to target the small business users who now cannot disable the shop within Windows. This will push slightly larger businesses to go to Enterprise.

While a small change, I hope Microsoft doesn’t fall into the trap many other monthly subscription providers have fallen into.

See the following for more information.

WinSXS/Installer Cleanup Windows 7,8 & Server 2012 with Patch Cleaner

I originally had a post on how to clean up WinSXS from 2014. However, I have come across a program that I have tested, and works very well.

The program is Patch Cleaner. This program scans your Installer folder to check if there are orphan files relating to programs or patches you may have removed from your computer. Any orphan files Patch Cleaner locates can be removed.

I have tested Patch Cleaner on Server 2012 and 2012 R2, including production terminal servers with 100 users. I have no had any issues thus far.

patchclean1

With Server 2012, running Patch Cleaner was removing on average 20GB+ on each server.

I would recommend checking this out if you are still stuck for space.

Disable Windows Update Services (WSUS) – Small Business Server and Doman Controllers

Windows Update Services, or WSUS can be a real pain at the best of times. On Small Business Servers, which are often neglected, some strange issues can arise.

The most common issue is that WSUS goes crazy and downloads everything. Yes, this does happen.

You may not know, but you shouldn’t uninstall WSUS on a domain controller, IE Small Business Server.

Here is how you can disable it and clean up the mess.

  1. Under Options, select Products and Classifications 
  2. Unselect everything, and then select Bing Bar. You need something selected.
    2015-11-13_12-22-02
  3. Under Classifications, select Critical Updates
    2015-11-13_12-21-47
  4. Remove Automatic Approvals
    2015-11-13_12-23-29
  5. Run the Server Cleanup Wizard with everything selected
  6. Once this is done, you can leave WSUS as is, or you can disable the service
    2015-11-13_12-25-46
  7. With the service stopped and disabled, you can also delete the content database. Only do this if you are never going to use WSUS again.
    2015-11-13_12-27-03

Hopefully this has helped someone.

Windows 10 “Out of Memory” when left idle

You may have come across this issue when you’ve upgraded your computer to Windows 10. Upon returning to your computer, the screen refreshes slowly and applications appear to have crashed due to memory issue.

There have been many suggest ways to fix this, but the simplest way is to do the following:

  1. Open Regedit by pressing Windows Key + R and typing regedit
  2. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlSession ManagerMemory Management
  3. Change the value of  ClearPageFileAtShutDown to 1
  4. Reboot your computer

This will wipe the page file on reboot.

This may increase the shutdown time of your computer, but it will fix this error. The root cause of this error is an incompatible driver on your system. I will follow up with an article on this process.