Windows System State errors

Errors you might see when backing up Windows system state

[] Failed to generate the backup image of System State Backup
The backup operation stopped before completing
The backup of the system state failed
There was a failure in preparing the backup image of one of the volumes in the backup set
The parameter is incorrect
Invalid Signature
There was a failure in preparing the backup image of one of the volumes in the backup set
Log of files for which backup failed

These aren’t in any specific order or related to specific versions of Windows.


Our software displays errors passed to it from Windows. These are generic and will require more investigation.

  1. Check there is plenty of free space in the temporary locations. A system state backup uses 2 temporary locations. These are in General and Others. This isn’t obvious because the 1st location is pre-empted when the backup set is created. We recommend both are set to the same location and it should be a local USB disk (preferred) or a NAS. We don’t recommend using the in-built server drives if they are part of the same RAID array because that will create an IO overhead on your server. USB disks are cheap to purchase and are presented to Windows as DAS.
    These temp locations are required because you will most likely be using incremental backups. For these to work correctly so that only the modified data delta is transmitted each day, the backup software must create a local backup and compare it with the backup stored online. The delta is then extracted and transmitted.

  2. Check the Windows event logs (application and system) for any hardware errors, VSS errors or any other unexplained other errors.

  3. Is VSS working?
    Every backup will require VSS to be healthy.
    You can check the status from an elevated command window using this command vss list writers
    All writers need to be healthy. A system state backup will use the system writer.
    If any writers show an error, update the Windows service packs from Windows update and reboot your device.