Blog: Backup

I was setting up Backup Exec 12.5 to function as a VCB proxy to back up our VMs at a VMDK level and ran into a few problems. Version 12.5 has this functionality built in so it was fairly simple to back up a VM from the SAN to the VCB proxy. Restoring it back to the vCenter cluster, on the other hand, was a different story. The first problem I ran into was in running a simple restore. The job would fail as it would try and convert the machine. Simple fix: Install VMWare Converter Standalone on the proxy. [more]

Problem 2: The job would fail and give me a suggestion that I might try restoring the machine as a redirected restore job.

Problem 3: When I tried to set up the job for a redirected restore, I receive “Access is denied.” when it attempts to connect to the vCenter and datastores.

Solution: UAC was causing the access to be denied. If I started Backup Exec as an administrator or disabled UAC on the machine, I was able to get access to the datastores and set up the redirected restore. From there, my restore jobs were successful. Now I did run into other slight problems with this restore, but I’ll save that for another time.


We had an issue last week where backups of an Exchange 2007 server began to fail after we removed the EMC Replication Manager & EMC Solutions Enabler apps. The errors that we began to see in the Application log like this:

Volume Shadow Copy Service error: A critical component required by the Volume Shadow Copy service is not registered.  This might happened if an error occurred during Windows setup or during installation of a Shadow Copy provider.  The error returned from CoCreateInstance on class with CLSID {bd902507-4491-4001-acdd-a540a2cad34b} and Name HWPRV is [0x80040154].

I went through the process described here  to reregister all the VSS stuff, but it didn’t work. After digging into the VSS CLI, I was seeing the following returned from issuing a “vssadmin list providers” [more]

Provider name: 'Microsoft Software Shadow Copy provider 1.0'
   Provider type: System
   Provider Id: {b5946137-7b9f-4925-af80-51abd60b20d5} 

Provider name: 'ERM VSS Provider'
   Provider type: Hardware
   Provider Id: {e929a027-cf8c-47bf-90a3-cd4241c7cace}
   Version: 1.0

It appeared as if the EMC VSS provider was not removed when I uninstalled the software. The online knowledgebase for EMC, said to fix it, re-install the apps, then start the VSS service, then uninstall the apps again suggesting that the provider would not have been removed if the service wasn’t running at the time the apps were uninstalled. I had a really hard time getting that stuff installed to start with so I didn’t want to start that again. I did some testing on a VM and found that I could remove the provider by just removing the registry key which matched the Provider Id listed by the vssadmin list providers command.


After restarting the VSS service one time, the vssadmin list providers command provided this output

Provider name: 'Microsoft Software Shadow Copy provider 1.0'
   Provider type: System
   Provider Id: {b5946137-7b9f-4925-af80-51abd60b20d5}

Success!! This could possibly be a problem and the fix could work with any applications that insert 3rd party VSS providers.


I recently ran into a problem trying to restore a SQL Server 2005 database to a Windows XP machine.  The database back up was created on a Windows Vista machine and I thought that the different OS versions was the culprit.  However, it turned out to be related to SQL server instances and folder paths.  Here is full error I received when I attempted to restore the database using SQL Server Management Studio:

Restore failed for Server 'localhost\sqlexpress'.  (Microsoft.SqlServer.Express.Smo)

Additional information:
System.Data.SqlClient.SqlError: The operating system returned the error '5(Access is denied.)' while attempting 'RestoreContainer::ValidateTargetForCreation' on 'c:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL.2\MSSQL\[my database name].mdf'. (Microsoft.SqlServer.Express.Smo)

I searched the Internet using the error message and found several posts stating that it was a problem with the privileges of the user account that my SQL Server Express service was running as. I hadn't changed the account it was running as and I had restored other databases in the past, but I checked the SQL Server Configuration Manager anyway.  As I suspected the service was still running as the default account (Network Service), so that wasn't it.   [more]

After I couldn't find a quick fix on the Internet I decided to look around the options in the Restore Database window.  It turns out the problem was with the paths under the restore options.  The backup was trying to restore the .mdf and .ldf files to the c:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL.2\MSSQL\ directory.  The instance of SQL Server I was working with was storing all it's data files in C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL.1\MSSQL\Data\.  Once I changed the paths for the database file and log file to be the same as where my other database files were being stored the restore ran fine with no errors.  For additional reference, here is an article that explains the naming of folders for SQL Server 2005 instances:


We recently ran into a problem where one of our customer's servers was randomly rebooting. It looked like the cause of this was the updates from Backup exec that were being downloaded and installed. We checked backup exec and it was not set to install updates at all. After some research we found that they updates were being installed even though it wasn't set to do so. [more]

We noticed the updates were occurring the same time as the SMSE updates. After researching with Symantec I found that by default Backup Exec is registered with LiveUpdate and is configured to receive updates ANYTIME LiveUpdate is run from ANY Symantec application configured to use LiveUpdate. Thus every time that SMSE started LiveUpdate it would install Backup Exec updates as well. I downloaded a utility (BeUpdateOps.exe) that I used to unregister Backup Exec from LiveUpdate and this stopped the random reboots.


My external hard drive that I back up my home computer to crashed the other day. My replacement options included buying another external HDD @ $200+ or find another way to back up my data. I have too much data to backup to DVD. There is always the SOHO RAID solutions but those are $500+. What I wanted was the “no crash, no maintenance” backup solution. [more]I found an online backup company called Mozy ( Mozy is an EMC company and for $4.95 per computer per month, you have unlimited online backups. I figured I would get my money’s worth out of that high speed connection and give it a try. As of yet, I don’t know if it is really “unlimited” but I have about 100 GB uploaded so far and still going. You can retrieve via web, locally installed client app, or by ordering a DVD collection. At that price, I can use this back up service 3 years for the price of an external HDD. It’s not as fast obviously, but my connection is idle most of the time anyway.  Plus now I have an offsite backup of my files.  So, check it out if your looking for a back up solution for your home computer.


I recently found myself in a situation where some pictures, that to me were priceless, had been deleted from my camera memory card. Unfortunately those pictures had not been moved or copied to any other media. Like most of us I wanted a free method of recovering them. I found a software called Recuva, which is a freeware Windows utility to restore files that have been accidentally deleted. This includes files emptied from the Recycle bin as well as images and other files that have been deleted by user error from digital camera memory cards or MP3 players. It will even bring back files that have been deleted by bugs, crashes and viruses! [more]

I download the program and installed it to my USB thumb drive. It installs as a simple .exe, which when ran opens a simple little GUI that allows you to scan any drive, filtering by pictures, music, documents, video or show all files found. After it finds the files you select them from the list and recover them to the location of your choice. I was actually able to find pictures deleted off the memory card over a year ago.

If interested you can download and read more about it hear.


We have been having trouble with a SCSI card that was attached to a tape drive that was installed on a CommVault Media Agent server. The card was brand new and the drivers were Windows 2k3 certified. We started having issues with this server during the CommVault install. The server would just spontaneously reboot leaving the CommVault backups in disarray. Troubleshooting led us to update the firmware on the card, the tape library firmware & driver, and the tape drive firmware & driver. This fixed the problem for a few days and it would happen again. It would only happen when doing an auxiliary copy from disk to tape. After some deep-dive troubleshooting on the SCSI I/O bus, we were able to get some logs during the time immediately before one of the spontaneous reboots/failures. From the logs we were able to find that the card actually had some type of problem that caused extended I/O latencies during periods of high traffic (aux copies). We ordered an Adaptec card and installed it. Now, not only are copies to tape 2x faster, it hasn’t crashed . . . yet.


The Symantec Mail Security Appliance software uses passive mode for ftp when backing up the configuration. Since this device is usually installed in the DMZ, an ISA server publishing rule needs to be created to publish your internal ftp server.  This rule needs to be edited to support passive mode with a port range to be used. [more]

When backing up the configuration, a path is required and it puts a / in front of the path specified.  Specifying "." for the path works, but it drops the file name and creates a file named ".".  I found the best solution is to specify "./" for the path and then it will transfer the backup file into the ftp server's user's default directory.


When using the Advanced Open File Option with Backup Exec, make sure you check the Job Log to see if it is actually getting used correctly. I wanted to use it to back up VMWare Server virtual machines at CITBA. The job was running successfully, so I thought it was working correctly. We started getting calls that VMs running on that server could not be reached by users trying to RDP to them. Once the OSE connected to them via the VMWare Server console, the app would show an "access denied" error (only once) and then go away and stuff would start working. [more]After research, it was discovered that Backup Exec was actually using standard backup (not AOFO) to backup the VM vmdk files thus causing a file lock issue with VMWare Server. Note the very inconspicuous log below.

You can find this is the "Job History" tab of the job log. The reason was that no AOFO licenses were installed. So, the moral of the story is Backup Exec will let you select the AOFO option in a backup job and let you deploy the Backup Exec agent with the AOFO option even in you don't have the license installed. Thus, making you think AOFO will actually work, but don’t be fooled. It doesn't.


If you want to restore a SBS 2003 box that was upgraded from SBS 2000 using tape backups from Backup Exec, here is the process…and believe me this is abbreviated. [more]

  1. Install SBS 2000 so that you can get the system path to be c:\winnt and some necessary dlls that will break the kernel if you try to go directly to SBS 2003. It is temping to use an unattended install and skip directly to SBS 2003 with a  custom install point, but I speak from experience…it doesn’t work. No need to install and configure DNS…I know it sounds like it will break, but it won’t. The only component that should be installed is SBS. Don’t install Exchange, ISA, SQL or the optional components….JUST SBS. Trust me. Be sure to name the domain the same as it was before during setup.
  2. Your goal is to get to SBS 2003, but before you upgrade your SBS 2000 install, you must install Windows 2000 SP3, then SBS SP 1a, then Windows 2000 SP4. Having fun yet?
  3. Upgrade to SBS 2003 and then fix what didn’t work when you upgraded it….just kidding this actually works pretty well considering.
  4. Your next step is to get Backup Exec up and running. So either reinstall Backup Exec on the SBS 2003 box and inventory your recovery tape or install the tape drive and Backup Exec to another server and do it there. Really doesn’t matter where you do it from. Make sure your backup exec service account has access to your restored server if you moved it to a different server.
  5. Reboot your restored SBS 2003 server into AD recovery mode by pressing F8 at boot time. It’s like booting to safe mode, but it’s a different option on the same screen.
  6. Do the authoritative restore, but DON’T restore anything that has anything to do with SQL, Exchange. That includes program files directories, databases, all the other items that are included in the doc link below. Yeah, this seems strange, but bare with me. Oh, and if ISA was originally installed, you can restore it, BUT if it was set up to log to a local SQL MSDE database (which most are because it is an SBS install and I think that is the default behavior), it won’t work. Exactly how ISA will act once restored is somewhat of a mystery so best of luck to you. IMO, just remove it and deal with it after all this mess is done.
  7. Reinstall SQL Server and Exchange Server from media. I know, I know….you have a backup of it so why do you have to reinstall it from the CD that you don’t have. Because…
  8. Using single user mode, restore the master SQL Server database first then restore all the other databases.
  9. Reinstall Exchange with the /disasterrecovery option. Follow the instructions in the doc…just follow the doc. Just get ready to run eseutil on your databases because they will need it, especially if circular logging was turned on at the message store level (and if you are the one that turned circular logging on…shame on you!). Mount your databases after all the consistency checking is complete.
  10. Now, take a breath, go get a burger from Whataburger because by now it is 2:00 in the morning and that is the only place open.
  11. Address the literally hundreds of issues that will arise after you have done this procedure.

Here is a link to the unabridged version: 

Oh, and in all this you better hope you are restoring to similar if not the same hardware. The support on this process from Backup Exec goes right out the window if you aren’t restoring to the same/similar hardware. And you MUST have the media to reinstall all this stuff. Gathering this type of stuff seems trivial, but it is actually one of the MOST difficult parts of this process, especially if the customer is not a volume license holder.