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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 later versions, you may experience these symptoms:
  • The snapshot operation fails to complete. 
  • Unable to create a quiesced snapshot of the virtual machine.
  • Unable to back up the virtual machine.
  • Cloning a Windows 2008 R2 virtual machine fails.
  • In the Application section of the Event Viewer in virtual machine, Windows guest operating system reports an 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.

  • 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.
  • You see the error:

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


This is a known issue with VSS application snapshots which is not caused by VMware software. It affects ESXi/ESX 4.1 and later versions.
Currently, there is no resolution.
To work around this issue, disable VSS quiesced application-based snapshots and revert to file system quiesced snapshots. You can disable VSS applications quiescing with either the VMware vSphere Client or with VMware Tools. Use one of these procedures:

Disable VSS application quiescing using the vSphere Client:
  1. Power off the virtual machine.
  2. Log in to the 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. Navigate 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 through the command line using a text editor, the 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 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: For more information on configuring the disk.EnableUUID parameter for VMware Data Protection (VDP), see 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 and close the file.
  4. Restart the VMware Tools Service for the changes to take effect.
  5. Click Start > Run, type services.msc, and click OK.
  6. Right-click the VMware Tools Service and click Restart.

  • Some issues related to Windows 2008 R2 VSS application-based snapshot backups in vSphere Data Protection (VDP) are resolved in VDP 5.1.10.
  • For more information, see:

Additional Information

For more information:

There is a related known issue with vCenter Server installed on a Windows 2008 or 2008 R2 virtual machine with snapshots and the ADAM or NTDS instance which are used by vCenter Server.

Note: This issue is resolved in ESXi/ESX 4.1 Update 1. For more information, see the Backup section in the VMware ESX 4.1 Update 1 Release Notes.

In some cases, Windows 2008 R2 patches may update the Microsoft VSS drivers. If this occurs, reinstall VMware Tools so that the VMware VSS drivers can be used again.

For translated versions of this article, see:
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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 03/12/2015 - Added ESXi 6.0 to Products. 03/12/2015 - Added vCenter Server 6.0 to Products.

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