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Fix It: Windows Backup Failed Trying to Read from Shadow Copy

June 14th, 2013

Backups are Good!You get Windows Backup all set up, and it’s working fine.

You are happy.

Then one day, you get to your puter and you have a lovely error message that reads, “Windows backup failed while trying to read from shadow copy on one of the volumes being backed up.”

You try everything, and it just won’t back up your stuff any more. It keeps giving some error about a failure because it cannot read a shadow copy on one particular volume.

Not to worry, because the solution is pretty simple…

You probably also noticed that your antivirus software detected some Java baddies. You dutifully clicked the button to clean the malware, and you thought everything was fine… except that your backup still won’t run!

Then you do a search, and you find wonderful advice such as this post on answer.microsoft.com.

Did you ever notice that Microsoft’s “Answers” web site is totally useless? Yeah, I noticed that too. What’s worse, the total crap responses from their “experts” are always posted twice, and sometimes 32 times. If they suggest a fix and it doesn’t work, they simply assume that you are a moron, and so they seem to just repost the same answer, again and again.

Isn’t that nice? No, it’s not.

You could also try this workaround, recommended by MS. Wow, what is THAT all about? I dunno.

If you’re tired of the runaround and answers that aren’t solutions repeated 32 times, try this:

  1. Open Explorer (Win-E keyboard shortcut)
  2. Go to Organize -> Folder and search options -> View tab -> Make sure “Show hidden files, folders, and drives” is CHECKED. Click OK.
  3. Navigate to: C:\Users\YOUR_ACCOUNT_NAME\AppData\LocalLow\Sun\Java\Deployment\cache\6.0
  4. Delete all the numbered folders in the above directory.
  5. Re-run Windows Backup.

Wasn’t that easy?

It seems that what happens is that you get some kind of Java malware (or what is reported as malware) on your puter. It is stored in Java’s cache directory. Your security software sees it, and it claims to delete it. But, either something goes wrong, or it doesn’t quite remove all copies of the baddie, which then causes a problem with Volume Shadow Copy (which is more or less Window’s “file change history” feature that makes things like Previous Versions and Windows Backup work nicely and efficiently).

So, just delete the contents of the Java cache folder, and your problem is gone.

If the above solution doesn’t work, note what malware your antivirus app is finding, and where it is located. Manually delete the contents of that directory, and try Windows Backup again.

Hopefully, this little tip will save you some time and aggravation!

Computers , ,


  1. Doyle Curtis
    July 10th, 2013 at 00:06 | #1

    Where is the lanscan_help.txt file for lanscan.exe Version 1.52 ?

  2. July 10th, 2013 at 11:36 | #2

    Doyle Curtis :

    Where is the lanscan_help.txt file for lanscan.exe Version 1.52 ?

    Oops! I added the help file back in to the v1.52 ZIP file.

  3. Employee Somewhere
    November 24th, 2014 at 20:28 | #3

    I love Scottie. This shiz works. Thank you!

  4. Brad Kelpien
    May 23rd, 2015 at 06:02 | #4

    Found something else that it will cause this problem. I had a folder that Windows wouldn’t let me delete, since it said it didn’t exist (had a colon in the file name). But I couldn’t copy it because Windows said it didn’t exist. I discovered this when trying to copy the files to do a manual backup. All I needed to do was run scandisk on the drive I was backing up, and it found and deleted the invalid folder. Now Windows Backup works fine.

  5. Tony
    July 5th, 2015 at 18:24 | #6

    Finally someone with the right answer….I do use java…well it worked for me…Thx

  6. Tony
    July 5th, 2015 at 18:29 | #7

    Spoke too soon…Image problem!!

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