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Volume Shadow Copy (System Services for the Windows Server 2003 Family and Windows XP Operating Systems)

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Service Name: VSS

Executable Name: Vssvc.exe

Log On As: LocalSystem

Description: The Volume Shadow Copy service manages volume shadow and is used by backup applications. When a backup application attempts to start a backup by using the new volume shadow infrastructure, the backup application calls methods to determine the number of writers that are running on the service. It queries each writer to gather the required metadata. After it has obtained the metadata, the backup application can collect the volumes that need to be shadow copied to ensure a successful backup session.

Volume Shadow Copy allows you to create shadow copy backups of volumes — exact copies of files, including all open files. For example, databases that are held open exclusively and files that are open due to operator or system activity are backed up during a volume shadow copy backup. In this way, files that have changed during the backup process are copied correctly.

Shadow copy backups ensure that:

  • Applications can continue to write data to the volume during a backup.

  • Files that are open are not omitted during a backup.

  • Backups can be performed at any time, without locking out users.

Some applications manage storage consistency differently while files are open, which can affect the consistency of the files in the backup. For critical applications, consult the application vendor.

If this service is stopped or disabled, shadow copies are unavailable for backup and the backup process might not succeed.

Available on: Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition; Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition; Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition and Windows Server 2003, Web Edition

Installed through: Default operating system installation

Startup type: Maunal

Service status: Stopped

This service depends on the following system components:

Remote Procedure Call (RPC)

The following system components depend on this service:

None

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