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Cannot take a quiesced snapshot of Windows 2008 R2 virtual machine (1031298)


When creating a snapshot on a Windows 2008 R2 virtual machine on ESXi/ESX 4.1 and higher, you may experience these symptoms:
  • The snapshot operation fails to complete
  • You are unable to create a quiesced snapshot of the virtual machine.
  • You are unable to back up the virtual machine.
  • Cloning a Windows 2008 R2 virtual machine fails
  • The Application section of the Event Viewer in the virtual machine Windows guest operating system may report a VSS error similar to:

    Volume Shadow Copy Service error: Unexpected error calling routine IOCTL_DISK_SET_SNAPSHOT_INFO(\\.\PHYSICALDRIVE1) fails with winerror 1168. hr = 0x80070490, Element not found.

  • Performing any process that creates a quiesced snapshot fails
  • You see the error:

    Can not create a quiesced snapshot because the create snapshot operation exceeded the time limit for holding off I/O in the frozen virtual machine.

  • Backup applications, such as VMware Data Recovery, fails with the error:

    Failed to create snapshot for <vmname>, error -3960 (cannot quiesce virtual machine)


This is not a VMware issue.

This issue occurs due to a known issue with VSS application snapshots and ESXi/ESX 4.1 and later.

To work around this issue, disable VSS application-based snapshots to revert to file system quiesced snapshots.


Disable VSS application quiescing using the vSphere Client:
  1. Power off the virtual machine.
  2. Log into vCenter Server or the ESXi/ESX host through the vSphere Client.
  3. Right-click the virtual machine and click Edit settings.
  4. Click the Options tab.
  5. Go to Advanced > General > Configuration Parameters.
  6. Add or modify the row disk.EnableUUID with the value FALSE.
  7. Click OK to save.
  8. Click OK to exit.
  9. Reboot the virtual machine for changes to take in effect.

    Note: If this change is done via the command line, use vim-cmd command to reload the vmx is enough to see the changes. For more information, see Reloading a vmx file without removing the Virtual machine from inventory (1026043).

  10. Alternatively, un-register the virtual machine from the vCenter Server inventory. To un-register, right-click the virtual machine and click on Remove from Inventory.
  11. Re-register the virtual machine back to the inventory. For more information, see Registering or adding a virtual machine to the inventory on vCenter Server or on an ESX/ESXi host (1006160).
Note: To configure the disk.EnableUUID parameter for VMware Data Protection (VDP), see the Resolution section in Backing up a Windows Server 2008 R2 virtual machine using VMware Data Protection 5.1 fails with the error: Execution Error: E10055:Failed to attach disk. (2035736).

Disable VSS application quiescing using VMware Tools:
  1. Open the C:\ProgramData\VMware\VMware Tools\Tools.conf file in a text editor, such as Notepad. If the file does not exist, create it.
  2. Add these lines to the file:

    vss.disableAppQuiescing = true

  3. Save the file.
  4. Exit the editor.
  5. Restart the VMware Tools Service for the changes to take effect. Click Start > Run, type services.msc, and click OK.
  6. Right-click the VMware Tools Service and click Restart.

Additional Information

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For translated versions of this article, see:


cannot-take-snapshot create-snapshot-fails take-snapshot error-3960

This Article Replaces


Update History

01/27/2012 - Added product versions from 1030943 and also added the symptoms to close out 1030943 as duplicate. 04/19/2011 - Added information that the issue resolved in ESX4.1 U1 07/18/2012 - Added the Event Viewer VSS error in Symptoms section 08/24/2012 - Added links to KB 1007696 and 1031200 02/03/2014 - Added ESXi 5.5 and vCenter Server 5.5 to products

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