The Solutions to VSS Insufficient Storage Error

Posted by @Cody

June 29, 2015

Many users may have encountered the VSS insufficient storage error to create either the shadow copy storage file or other shadow copy data when using Windows Backup and Restore or other software. This article will show you how to fix this VSS error.

The Problems

The following VSS (Volume Shadow Copy Service) insufficient storage error occurs when you do a backup using Volume Shadow Copy Service:

Detailed error: ERROR - A Volume Shadow Copy Service operation error has occurred:

Insufficient storage available to create either the shadow copy storage file or other shadow copy data. (0x8004231f)

The Reasons

1. This problem is usually caused by insufficient storage on the related partitions including the System Reserved Partition. You may have made some restore points which create snapshots stored on a partition of the disk and consuming disk space.

2. That the defined maximum size of the Volume Shadow Copy is smaller than needed size to complete the shadow copy may also behind this error.

3. Allocating a drive letter to the Microsoft System Reserved (MSR) partition, which is required to boot Windows, or OEM utility partition, which only exists on some computers, can also lead to VSS failure.

The Solutions

I suggest you check the above first and follow the corresponding solution to solve it.

1. If there is no sufficient storage on the related partition, you can either delete files to get more space, or extend partition. To delete all VSS snapshots on your computer, you can use the vssadmin command. The command to delete shadows:

vssadmin delete shadows /for=<ForVolumeSpec> [/oldest | /all | /shadow=<ShadowID>] [/quiet]

You can use the command "vssadmin delete shadows /all" to delete all VSS snapshots. If you don’t want to delete them all, you can run the command "vssadmin list shadows" to display a list of snapshots. Then you can delete some specific snapshots by its ID or volume.

2. If the related partition has sufficient disk space but the defined maximum size of the Volume Shadow Copy is too small, You can allocate more storage using command. You can run the following command to see the defined maximum size of the Volume Shadow Copy:

Vssadmin list shadowstorage

Vssadmin resize shadowstorage command:

vssadmin resize shadowstorage /for=<ForVolumeSpec> /on=<OnVolumeSpec> [/maxsize=<MaxSizeSpec>]

If you want to allocate more 60GB, you can run the following command:

vssadmin resize shadowstorage /For=C: /On=C: /MaxSize=60GB

Actually the Maxsize does not have to be a specific number, you can also set it as /maxsize=UNBOUNDED

3. If the MSR or OEM partition has a drive letter, you can remove the drive letter from the partition.

Alternative Solution

As we all know, VSS is a powerful function of Windows, but its errors may drive people mad. If you think the solutions above too complicated and do not want to go though the whole process, here is another simple way by using backup freeware - AOMEI Backupper, which has its own technology to perform live backups instead of using VSS. If you check the option, Don’t use VSS, in Settings of Backupper, you will never worry about the VSS insufficient storage error or any other annoying VSS problems.