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Repairing Windows XP Backup

Date:  Thu, 16th-Dec-2004prevnext

Tags: Windows

hard disk drive

Every day, at 18:00hrs, my Windows XP-based desktop PC performs a full backup of its hard disks to a NAS appliance. The backup takes advantage of Windows' "Volume Shadow Copy Technology" to ensure that no files are skipped during the process.

XP's backup software generally performs its task well and I've been extremely grateful for it on those few occasions when I've had to restore a "broken" system. It's never failed me, until today...

At 18:00hrs today my backup process, running via XP's scheduler, started up as normal. Then terminated immediately. Now I'll admit, I recently purged some accumulated detritus from my hard disks, but I didn't think I'd deleted enough to render backups instantaneous.

So I had a look through my error logs and found the following message:

Error returned while creating the volume shadow copy:80042301
Aborting Backup.


The operation did not successfully complete.


Thank you Microsoft for another clear, concise and meaningful error message!

So I copy-and-pasted "Error returned while creating the volume shadow copy:80042301" into Google, hoping to get some more information on this error and got a fair few matches. Obviously, this is not an uncommon problem.

There were a couple of documented "solutions" but, unfortunately, none of them worked for me. There were also a lot of long forum threads that described the problem but closed with it unresolved. Not a good sign!


Thankfully, I did manage to get the backup program working again. Here's how I did it:

  • We'll begin with that old Tech' Support favourite, the reboot.
  • Backup the Registry; Open "regedt32.exe" and navigate to "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/system/setup"; Change the "UpgradeInProgess" value to "0" [1]; Change the "SystemSetupInProgress" value to "0".
  • Open "regsvr32 ole32.dll".
  • Open the Services MMC snap-in and restart the "COM+ Event System", "COM+ System Application" and "Volume Shadow Copy" services.

Windows XP Backup worked perfectly once these operations had been performed.


[1] The "UpgradeInProgress" key might not exist in the Registry. If it doesn't there is no need to create it.


The photograph of the hard disk drive was sourced via morgueFile.

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