Application Aware (VSS) Backups and ACT!7 SQL Server Configuration

It’s come up often enough now, and been difficult enough each time to locate details on it, that I want to write a little something about failed VSS backups when the accounting package Act! is installed. It’s an infuriating little error, and the fix is so minor and something that (to my mind) should be resolved by Swiftpage (the developers of Act!)

While this will apply to any backup system that uses VSS, if I ever see the error below from one of my managed Veeam backups with Application Aware Processing enabled again…

Error: Failed to create snapshot: 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: [{76301a1a-85cf-46df-ae7c-b30efafe3afc}].
Writer's state: [VSS_WS_FAILED_AT_PREPARE_SNAPSHOT]. Error code: [0x800423f4]

… then I am going to immediately verify if Act! is installed. If it is, then I’m doing the following immediately, before ALL other troubleshooting:

It’s magical how quickly this fixes the issue, and how little (read: zero) impact it has on Act!

  1. Go to Start
  2. Choose Computer Management
  3. Choose Services and Applications​
  4. Choose SQL Server Configuration Manager
  5. Locate SQL Server(ACT7)
    • Change the service logon from Local System to Local Service

This will save me both time, and frustration – and it may save you a little time and frustration too.