Error message when you try to perform a system backup operation on a Windows Vista-based computer: "Catastrophic failure (0x8000FFFF)"


On a computer that is running Windows Vista or Windows Vista with Service Pack 1, you try to perform a system backup operation. However, the backup process fails immediately after it starts, and you receive the following error message:
Catastrophic failure (0x8000FFFF)
The backup process fails when the shadow copy creation is in progress. If you change the backup configuration, the same issue occurs.


This problem occurs because the backup process detects that system drive is dirty.

Windows Vista Backup always includes the system drive as part of backup. If the system drive is dirty, the backup process skips the system drive, and no snapshot of the system drive is created. Therefore, the backup cannot locate a snapshot of the system drive later, and the error occurs.


To resolve this problem, run the disk check (Chkdsk.exe) to repair the errors on the system drive. To do this, use one of the following methods.

Method 1: Run the disk check from Windows Explorer

  1. Double-click My Computer, and then right-click the system drive.
  2. Click Properties, and then click Tools.
  3. Under Error-checking, click Check Now. A dialog box that shows the Check disk options is displayed.
  4. Click to select the Automatically fix file system errors check box, and then click Start.
  5. If you receive the following message, click Schedule disk check:
    Windows can't check the disk while it's in use. Do you want to schedule the disk check to occur the next time you restart the computer?
  6. Restart the computer to start the disk check.

Method 2: Run the disk check at the command prompt

  1. Click StartStart button , click All Program, click Accessories, right-click Command Prompt, and then click Run as administrator.
  2. At the command prompt, type chkdsk system_volume:/f, and then press ENTER.

    For example, type chkdsk c:/f.
  3. If you receive the following message, type Y, and then press ENTER:
    Chkdsk cannot run because the volume is in use by another process. Would you like to schedule this volume to be checked the next time the system restarts? (Y/N)
  4. Restart the computer to start the disk check.

Article ID: 973558 - Last Review: Jul 17, 2009 - Revision: 1