Troubleshooting Vista Backup Problems
If you're getting an error message instead of a backup, first make sure that you do have it set to the external drive. Many manufacturers like to put a recovery partition on the PC that takes up the D: drive letter.
Also, if you have an eSATA hard drive, with an adapter at the back of your computer with a cable that plugs into the motherboard (system board), Vista might do some strange drive lettering. For example, with an HP desktop with one internal hard drive, one eSATA external hard drive, and one DVD-burner, the drive assignments are:
C: internal hard drive
D: recovery partition
F. internal drive (but it's really external) and the drive we'd want to use as the backup target
On a ThinkPad notebook, the recovery partition is not given a drive letter, so the next drive is shown as D: even if it is external.
Look in "Computer" to make sure that you have specified the correct external drive.
If you get error 0x8004231f, that means that there's not enough free space on the target device to create the shadow copy.Try freeing up some space and then try the backup again. It also may indicate that there's not enough free space on the PC's hard drive to create the shadow copy. This error message is a little vague - it means simply that there is insufficient space to create the shadow copy. I have read that very low free space on the origin hard drive (probably C:) will induce 800xxxx errors.
If that's not the problem, you can try checking storage allocation for shadow copies, try increasing the allocated shadow storage size, or try launching the backup "by hand." To do any of these, start an elevated command prompt by clicking the Vista start button, selecting All Programs, then Accessories, and then right-click and select “Run as administrator." Click Continue when Vista asks for permission. Then type in
vssadmin list shadowstorage
to list all the shadow copy allocation that Vista knows about.
will show all the possible switches. One is "Resize ShadowStorage."
This is handy when you know that you have adequate free space on the target drive but you're still getting 0x8004231 errors when trying to back up. As an example of its use, the following command
vssadmin Resize ShadowStorage /For=C: /On=F: /MaxSize=80 GB
translates into something like "resize the shadow storage space on the F: drive for data from the C: drive to 80 GB."
To manually launch a back-up from the command line, enter
wbadmin start backup –backupTarget:F: -include:C:
Replace F: with the drive letter where your backups are to be kept. You’ll see the program asking for permission to continue, so press “Y" on your keyboard, and then you'll be able to capture any error messages.
If you get an error message that says, “Failed to create the shared protection point on the source volume," it probably means that you are trying a backup to a volume that was not started at Vista’s startup. For example, if you’re using an external hard drive that was started at some time after Vista’s startup, you may see this error message. If you do, reboot the computer making sure that the external drive is running and try running the the backup again.
There may be other error messages and troubleshooting steps involved that we have not covered here. A good troubleshooting step is to carefully note the entire error message and then do a Google search for it. You may find somebody else with the same problem - and the solution.