Procedure to delete shadow copies on Windows server 2003 and later

Volume Shadow Copy :-

VSS or Volume Shadow Copy is a service that creates snapshots or point in time copy  [shadow copies] of disk volumes. This service was introduced in Windows Server 2003.

Components of VSS :->

  • VSS Writer : Each VSS-aware application installs its own VSS writer to a computer during the initial installation.
  • VSS Requestor : Software that commands the creation of Shadow Copies. It is actually the backup application itself.
  • VSS Provider : It takes care of keeping the shadow copies after that consistent point-in-time

How to delete shadow copies ?

vssadmin delete shadows /for=<ForVolumeSpec> [/oldest | /all | /shadow=<ShadowID>] [/quiet]

To get the shadowID, use the command : vssadmin list shadows
  • /for=<ForVolumeSpec> – Specifies the volume for which the shadow copies needs to be deleted
  • /oldest – Deletes only the oldest shadow copy
  • /all – Deletes all the shadow copies of the specified volume
  • /shadow=<ShadowID> – Deletes the shadow copy specified by the ShadowID
  • /quiet – command will not display any messages

How to troubleshoot VSS errors ?

In CMD, execute the command vssadmin list writers. In the result, check whether any errors are reported for the writers. Also, check the result for vssadmin list providers and troubleshoot if any errors are reported.


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