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

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

Then i try to backup VM using VDR the following error occured:

Create virtual machine snapshot

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

How can i fix this issue ?

Please help...thanks.


i had the same problem with two windows 2003 webservers.

I ran the Security Configuration Wizard on both servers and the wizard disabled the services "Microsoft Software Shadow Copy Provider" and "Volume Shadow Copy"

i set the startup of both services from "disabled" to "manual" and snapshots are working fine now.

also ensure that the "VMware Shadow Copy" service is set to manual startup

hope this helps


Hey- Just wondering if this error was constant or more intermittent; as in it happens when multiple snapshots in succession as part of a backup routine? im running Backup Exec 12.5 with VCB and no integration module (thank GOD!) ive found if i manually run the backup job that intern requests the snapshot be created, its fine.

Also im kinda new to the VM world especially in regards to backing guests up with VCB.... Where can i find the Security Configuration Wizard you mentioned? thanks for any/all help.




the error was constant, backup did never work.

I'm using the VMware Data Recovery Appliance for backup.

the Security Configuration Wizard is part of windows 2003 you can add/remove it through the windows components

but if you didn't use it your system was messed by something else.

If you do a manual snapshot via vsphere client be sure to uncheck "snapshot the virtual machine's memory" and check "quiesce guest file system(need vmware tools installed)

this also produces the same error a the backup appliance if the two mentioned services are disabled


I am facing the same problem.

I already checked those two services but both are set to manual.

Each time the backup tries to start it fails with the mentioned failure "Cannot create a quiesced snapshot because the create snapshot operation exceeded the time limit for holding off I/O in the frozen virtual machine.".

Any other ideas?


We get the same error here on a few servers.

If I make some headway I will report, if someone else could do the same that would be great.



First off, make sure the sync driver and VSS providers have been installed with VMware Tools. They did NOT get installed on some previous versions, so they may be missing if you upgraded.

Also, I see this a lot with busy transactional systems, like SQL, Exchange and Domain Controllers. In my opinion (and a few other people here) you should never use a snapshot based backup for these. You should use agent based backups. To get an image for fast recovery, uninstall the sync and VSS from VMWare Tools and take a crash consistent backup. Recovery would be to restore the VM from VDR/VCB and then use the agent to recover the transactional data.

Dave Convery

VMware vExpert 2009

Careful. We don't want to learn from this.

Bill Watterson, "Calvin and Hobbes"


The VSS component is what is causing the problem you're facing, and there are a lot of different ways to workaround it, but the main thing you need to remember is that if you're not running VSS during your backup operations, you will not have an application or filesystem consistent backup, you will only have a crash consistent backup.

The main reason for VSS not working as expected is because the tools aren't installed properly, but sometimes it's just a matter of the VSS in Windows not being able to quiesce the filesystem because an application is demanding access from it, so it can't 'pause' the I/O within the VM (this commonly occurs in SQL/Exchange/Oracle/Citrix), or the VSS just isn't functioning correctly within the guest so when the VMware tools attempt to use the VSS to quiesce, it fails with an error that you can see in the Event logs.

The following KB's should help you diagnose the problem, and the first one -although the actual situation might not apply to you directly- the information within it will tell you how to disable the VSS/SYNC driver within the VM, the others help identify if the VSS is working within the guest (using ntbackup), and provide workarounds to known MS issues that prevent VSS from running correctly. Remember also that you can only use SYNC or the VSS component, so when you're running the VMware tools installation, make sure you do it interactively so you can see which option is selected.

Unable to take a quiesced VMware snapshot of a virtual machine -

Troubleshooting Volume Shadow Copy quiesce related issues -

64bit Windows virtual machines generate errors when trying to use the VSS and NT backup -


Confirmed Synch Driver in device manager was the problem, although you don't need a restart, just stop the service and set it to disable, which has to be done in two steps....


Here is a KB from Microsoft that explained the issue for me -


To All,


following tricks working without uninstalling the VMWare tools support

for VSS. Please be advised that I've tried this method on all of my failed to backup of Windows Server 2008/2003 x64 VMs

The reason why I'm doing this again is that I feel uncomfortable in removing the VSS snapshot provider support in VMWare tools:

1. Backup the following regkey: _HKLM\Software\Microsoft\EventSystem\ _

2. Erase the regkey HKLM\Software\Microsoft\EventSystem\{26c409cc-ae86-11d1-b616-00805fc79216} an below

3. Reboot.

4. Verify that things are working by running

vssadmin list writers

vssadmin list providers.

and then in the services.msc list of services snap ins, make sure the following services are Started Automatically:

1. COM+ System Application

2. Distributed Transaction Coordinator

3. Volume Shadow Copy

4. VMware Physical Disk Helper Service

Automatically but not started:

1. Microsoft Software Shadow Copy Provider

2. VMware Snapshot Provider

now the backup is all working great Smiley Happy

This is the solution that i tried around myself without uninstalling the VSS Provider support in VMWare tools.

See the following KB URL:

Hope this can be a helpful post for all of you.

Kind Regards,


This document was generated from the following thread: 



I was on the same problem with only one VM, I just reinstall (change not repair) vmware tools and I see that vss provider was not installed when it automatically upgraded my installation from 4 to 4.1...

Just install the addons, set microsoft + volume shadow copy to disabled, reboot my server and now it works

my error was the same with error -3960 in DR

Thanks again for your support

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