Files missing in Windows Server 2008 backup


Feb 20, 2006
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Jonkoping Sweden
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Hi everyone

I have a problem with backup of a Windows Server 2008 x64. I have several files that exists on the server but they are not included in my backup. When I browse the filesystem from BA client I can't see them either. For example C:\Program Files (x86)\Internet Explorer\iexplorer.exe exists on the server but can't be viewed in BA client. Also the same problem for C:\Program Files (x86)\Symantec\Symantec Endpoint Protection\rtvscan.exe. Other files in those folders are backed up. I have tried to make a copy of file iexplorer.exe in folder C:\Program Files (x86)\Internet Explorer\ and that file can be viewed and backed up!!

I have also looked at a BackupExec installation and I noticed that it's almost the same problem there. The files are missing when I try to restore them but they can be viewed in the selection list.

My BA client version is and the TSM server is running version 5.4.

Any ideas?

I am seeing the same thing...

tsm 5.5.1
windows 2003 64bit, TSM client

using iexplorer.exe as an example, like you it doesn't show up in the BA client and I don't have any to restore..

I can't see anything that would exclude it but even if it were excluded it should still show up in the GUI.

thats a bit worrying...
execute the "preview include/exclude" in the utilities menu of tsm client gui and check the dsmprev.txt after the examination of your files and folders complete, you'll see some files or folders excluded by operating system default...
Thanks for that suggestion.

I did the preview and asked it to show me everything excluded under C:\program files (x86) and iexplore.exe was not in the list of excluded items..
just backup the c:\program files (x86) folder and use dsmc query backup or restore window to examine the file is there or not...
Ok I ran an incremental backup but it was not backed up and does not appear when doing dsmc query backup from the command line or when going into the restore window of the GUI.
Think I'll raise a call with IBM
No, I see no files listed under Internet Explorer, only 3 subfolders. I can see files in those subfolders.

If I create a txt or exe file in the Internet Explorer folder its fine and I can backup restore no issue.

Attached is screenshot of the problem.

Last edited:
Hi again

I raised a call with IBM and sent them the traces when doing an incremental and a selective backup of IEXPLORE.EXE. Here is the response.

"I've gone through the traces and can see why we don't backup this particular file. We can see that Microsoft's VSS is excluding this file :

03/12/2009 15:14:07.989 [007804] [7080] : vssreq.cpp (8663):
AddFileToLinkedList(): Adding exclude cache object:

Once added as an exclude, we fail to back this up :

03/12/2009 15:14:08.661 [007804] [3924] : ntfileio.cpp (4962):
fioScanDirEntry(): 'C:\Program Files (x86)\Internet
Explorer\IEXPLORE.EXE' found in exclude cache,returning RC_OBJ_EXCLUDED.

So for some reason, VSS is adding this as an exclude. I don't even think stopping the vss service and performing the backup will help as we make vss api calls, but something you can try.

So I know why we cannot backup the file, but I don't know why vss excludes this I'm afraid. "

I'm not a windows person... how do I find out what else VSS is excluding?... why would VSS exclude this anyway? Is this something I need to worry about ?

Answer from IBM


I got the same link from IBM with comments below:

"This is something you would need to take up with Microsoft support as it is Windows that is excluding the files. "

This means that IBM don't take any responsibility for us to be able to restore a Windows Server 2008 from their backups. As I wrote in my first post also rtvscan.exe for Symantec Endpoint Protection is excluded. Are there any other files that we don't have in our backups.....

Yes there are lots. If you enable the tracing and flags as detailed in the IBM link, then fire up dsm or dsmc, it produces a tracefile which shows all the excludes. I had in the region of 3000 files I think.

I've not found anything on the microsoft website about this.

My 2 c
If you do a systemstate backup the files should be included, so you have to do a systemstate restore, and no you can not restore only one file :(

/regards Daniel
VSS Excludes

I have found that the with SQL Server 2005 has compounded the problem that I saw with the 5.4 client. The 5.4 client VSS issue was easily taken care of by a client option set on the server.

With VSS excludes, it's much more difficult using the client. I've been working with IBM TSM and Microsoft Support for quite a while on this issue.

Imagine my surprise when I found that I wasn't backing up the SQL production databases.

The IBM note listed above is good but doesn't go far enough.

I had to bump the client to and used a testflag TSM Support gave me as noted below. Please note that the testflag does not work with

'Please add the following line to your dsm.opt file. Then please open up your TSM B/A client and let me know if you see all of your dbs. Please try it with and without the VSS services stopped.'


I use it without stopping the SQL Server VSS Writer.

I am pushing IBM to note this issue in the READMEs so TSM admins are aware that DB files are being excluded and they have to use a workaround.

I list this for general information purposes. You can try it to see if it helps your particuar case but I was given it on a test basis. I am using it in production.
It isn't just Windows 2008...

We see the same issue on Windows 2003 SP2 for Ms SQL 2005. Sure, it's a database and there's an agent, but we wanted to do a cold backup using a presched command to shutdown the database.

Sure enough, when the database is shutdown, the database files are removed from the exclude cache, but TSM doesn't notice - it only reads the VSS exclude list once, upon client start up.

This leaves us with the odd situation that if the scheduler service (we don't use dsmcad) starts before the database services we can backup the database files regardless of whether the database is up or not (we use Open File support). But if the scheduler starts after the database servers, then we can't backup anything, regardless of whether the database is up or down.

IBM proposed a solution: Use dsmcad and use three schduled jobs, one to shutdown the database, one to run the backup, and the third to start the database backup. Three schedule instead of one.

I expressed concern that other applications might be adding and removing entries from VSS and we would have no way of knowing this was happening until a restore failed. It seems this is the case.

I got the same link from IBM with comments below:

"This is something you would need to take up with Microsoft support as it is Windows that is excluding the files. "

This means that IBM don't take any responsibility for us to be able to restore a Windows Server 2008 from their backups. As I wrote in my first post also rtvscan.exe for Symantec Endpoint Protection is excluded. Are there any other files that we don't have in our backups.....
It isn't just Windows 2008...


Have you tried the option 'TESTFLAG VSSDISABLEEXCL' in your dsm.opt file to see if that will make it work for you? This is how I get around this issue. Try it and let us know.

I had IBM and Microsoft engaged in conference calls over 2 or 3 months on this issue and it was proven that this is a TSM issue. Initially TSM said that they honor Microsoft excludes. Microsoft proved they are NOT excluding the files, TSM Development made the call to exclude them. This admission from TSM Support took months to hear. I should say that I've been a TSM admin for 11 years and that is the first time I've had both of them on the same call.

We ran the vshadow tests as Microsoft/TSM wanted and the SQL excludes were NOT there. With that info, the TSM support guy I was working with went back to development and the above statement is what I was told.

For information, one of the last email snippet to TSM Support is below:

"I have just spoken with Bhupinder of Microsoft. He wants to schedule another conference call with us. His discussions with his folks still indicate that, in the vshadow tests we ran and I'll note this below, no VSS excludes were seen.

Basically, he says that if VSS were excluding files we'd have messages like the below with implicit excludes files as noted below. We did not see that in the tests we ran.

- Excluded files: - Exclude: Path = E:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL.2\MSSQL\Data, Filespec = TrainingDB_Mirrored.mdf
- Exclude: Path = E:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL.2\MSSQL\Data, Filespec = TrainingDB_Mirrored_1.ldf
- Exclude: Path = E:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL.2\MSSQL\FTData\TrainingDB_Mirrored_2.TCatalog, Filespec

So if you don't mind, just call my cell when you get a moment and we can check your availability or reply to this email. Then I'll check his availability and we'll setup a conference call. I understand that anyone of us could be busy at a given moment but we'll be flexible and get this scheduled.

Microsoft is thinking that there is a problem here but not sure where the problem is and wants to continue working with TSM Support to fix the issue . We need to work that out."

I have to say Microsoft was cooperating very nicely with us. TSM was not as forthcoming, for example, they said we honor MS excludes. TSM had me run the vshadow tests and misinterpreted the results. MS showed the results ran on my servers showed no excludes. Finally, TSM said it was development that made the call to exclude the files.

I just added the testflag to my first 2008 Server. The SQL Data folder had 'OS' excludes by the OS. With the testflag, those excludes disappeared. You have to have the client and above for the testflag to work.

So, try the testflag. Hope it helps.

Test Flags

Thanks for the information. We haven't tried 'TESTFLAG VSSDISABLEEXCL' , but IBM offered a second flag, 'TESTFLAG SKIPSYSTEMEXCLUDE' that has a similar effect. However, management does not believe that the use of these flags in production is defensible if there were issues.