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  • Your attempt to restore mailbox database fails when restoring to a Recovery Group or Recovery Database
  • You are running Exchange 2007 and your Exchange Mailbox server uses one of the following:
    • Cluster Continuous Replication (CCR)
    • Local Continuous Replication (LCR)
    • Standby Continuous Replication (SCR)
  • You are running Exchange 2010 and your Exchange Mailbox server:
    • Participates in a Data Availability Group (DAG)
    • Hosts both active and passive database copies

What's going on?

Like most of ZCB's functions, Exchange backup and restore relies on the Windows Volume Shadowcopy Services (VSS). Exchange provides two separate VSS Writers by default: The Exchange Information Store VSS Writer and the Exchange Replication Service VSS Writer.

The Information Store writer allows for the backup of active, mounted databases. The Replication Service writer allows for the backup of passive databases, if a replicated database model is utilized.  

However, the Information Store writer and the Replication Service writer have the exact same VSS Writer ID. ZCB cannot tell the difference between the two writers because the ID is the same. This causes a restore to fail when it attempts to initialize the wrong writer.

You can find more details about this issue in these Microsoft articles:


Disable the Microsoft Exchange Replication Service Writer. Once the writer is disabled, begin your restore to the Recovery Group or Recovery Database of your choice.

Follow these steps to disable the Exchange Replication Service Writer.

  • Log on to the server with an administrator account.
  • Open the Registry Editor (regedit).
  • For Exchange 2010, navigate to
    • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\ExchangeServer\v14\Replay\Parameters.
  • For Exchange 2007, navigate to
    • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Exchange\Replay\Parameters
  • Add a new DWORD value named EnableVSSWriter
  • Set the value of EnableVSSWriter to 0.
  • Exit Registry Editor and then restart the Microsoft Exchange Replication service.


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