I have inherited a SQL Server 2008 R2 (SP3) Database. There are backups being taken daily at seemingly random times. The backups are not being saved locally on the server. I see the backup information in msdb..backupset table. What is taking these backups and where is it storing these backups? I see that VSS writer is the program name, I can disable the Service but I would like to get more information of what was done before I disable this service.

  • There are no agent jobs
  • There don't seem to be any Task Scheduler Jobs
  • There is no external program installed

I have created a trace and I see the following.


HostName is same as Server

Application Name: Microsoft SQL Server VSS Writer


  • 2
    The backup was run on the local server but that doesn't mean it was initiated there. See if your IT team has any software installed on other servers like Backup Exec or has implemented any kind of storage-based backup solution. – Aaron Bertrand Oct 22 '15 at 19:54
  • I suggest you check with your IT to see if they are using Volume Shadow Copy or DPM backups. From the trace, it looks like they are using. – Kin Shah Oct 22 '15 at 20:05
  • The fact that virtual device comes in backup output you posted clearly points to fact that either third party tool or windows in built backup mechanism is taking such backups. If you really want to stop this disable SQL Server VSS writer services. But before doing this speak to windows/backup admin – Shanky Oct 23 '15 at 5:36

The reason why you don't is because an agent is taking the backup. Look at Windows Services for something with "backup" in it's name like NetBackup or Tivoli (TDP, TSM) the service would be running using System account. The virtual device is a temporary mount point. The backup agent is sending it to an external storage then should put it to tape. Agent don't always have a GUI and a shortcut in the Start Menu. You can look also in the installed programs for a hint.

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