How to troubleshoot "Msg 3041" in SQL Server

Applies to: SQL Server 2008 EnterpriseSQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise


You might encounter the following error message in the Microsoft SQL Server error log or in the Application log in Windows if a backup operation fails:

The backup operation stops and reports the failure to the client application that requested the backup.


Message 3041 is a generic report about the backup failure. To understand the cause of the error and resolve it, you must use the SQL Server Error log entries that occur before the 3041 event entry. Typically, 3041 is preceded by a detailed error message that states the real reason for the backup failure. The detailed error messages are written only to the SQL Server error log and to the client application. The detailed message is not reported in the Application log in Windows.

Here are two examples:

Example 1

Example 2

In these examples, the messages 3043 and 18204 provide the specific reason for the failure. To resolve the underlying problem, you must examine those messages carefully.

Things to consider when you troubleshoot the 3041 message:
  • Does the problem occur for just one database or for all databases?
  • Is the backup taken to local storage or to remote storage?
  • What kind of backup (database backup, log backup, differential backup) is failing?
  • What is the application (SQL Server Agent job, SQL Maintenance plan, or VDI/VSS backup agents from backup software vendors) that is performing the backup?
  • What are the options that are used for the backup command?
  • What is the account under which SQL Server is running, and does this account have the required access to the target location to write files?

More Information

The following table provides more information about the products or tools that automatically check for this condition on your instance of SQL Server and on the versions of the SQL Server product against which the rule is evaluated.
Rule softwareRule titleRule descriptionProduct versions against which the rule is evaluated
System Center AdvisorSQL Server has encountered a backup error: Msg 3041System Center Advisor determines whether this instance of SQL Server reported any 3041 error. Review the details that are provided in the “Information Collected” section of the advisor alert, and resolve the problem as discussed in this article.SQL Server 2008
SQL Server 2008 R2