Windows 2008 R2 – cryptosvc – the service name is invalid – windows backup fails – sfc fails – windows updates fail

Posted on July 11, 2011

The title of this article sounds ... well just terrifying. If you run into a system with this many issues, its likely easier to just rebuild it from scratch, right? WRONG! I'm stubborn and figure some things are worth the challenge. Ultimately, this was a fairly critical exchange server that would take a lot of work to rebuild.

To approach a problem like this, we follow the trail of issues.

First noticed issues: Windows Backups are failing and Windows Updates will not install.
The system is Windows 2008 R2 64bit Enterprise Edition with Exchange 2010 SP1.

1) Verify the system filesystem integrity using SFC

C:\>sfc /scannow
Windows Resource Protection found corrupt files but was unable to fix some of them.
Details are included in the CBS.Log windir\Logs\CBS\CBS.log. For example

From this you would normally interpret corruption and seek out the affected files by using the following command:

C:\Windows\system32>findstr/C:"[SR] Cannot repair member file" %windir%\Logs\CBS\CBS.log

The interesting thing in our case was the "findstr" command returned nothing. So we skipped this step and moved onto the next one for the time being. Who wants to dig through tens of  thousands of lines? not me!

2) Diagnose and attempt to repair the Windows Backup issues

The Windows Backup utility was failing with "The operation was stopped. Detailed Error: The System Writer is not found in the backup". System State Backup Failed. 

First thing to check is THAT exactly.

c:\> vssadmin list writers

You're looking for this:

Writer name: 'System Writer'
   Writer Id: {e8132975-6f93-4464-a53e-1050253ae220}
   Writer Instance Id: {05407ce0-b537-4973-a731-e7ed614a9a9e}
   State: [1] Stable
   Last error: No error

If your list does not include the "System Writer", that's a problem. A fairly common one at that. The windows backup utility requires this tool.

If you dig around online you'll find an arsenal of articles outlining permission errors on a specific set of windows folders that cause the System Writer to fail. We've done the research for you. The following script will reset permissions on those folders back to default.

Create a batch file called "fixPermissions.bat" and copy/paste the following:

Takeown /f %windir%\winsxs\filemaps /a

icacls %windir%\winsxs\filemaps  /grant "NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM:(RX)"
icacls %windir%\winsxs\filemaps  /grant "NT Service\trustedinstaller:(F)"
icacls %windir%\winsxs\filemaps  /grant "BUILTIN\Users:(RX)"
icacls %windir%\winsxs\filemaps  /grant "Administratoren:(RX)"
Takeown /f %windir%\winsxs\filemaps\* /a
icacls %windir%\winsxs\filemaps\*.*  /grant "NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM:(RX)"
icacls %windir%\winsxs\filemaps\*.*  /grant "NT Service\trustedinstaller:(F)"
icacls %windir%\winsxs\filemaps\*.*  /grant "BUILTIN\Users:(RX)"
icacls %windir%\winsxs\filemaps\*.*  /grant "Administrators:(RX)"
Takeown /f %windir%\winsxs\temp\PendingRenames /a
icacls %windir%\winsxs\temp\PendingRenames  /grant "Administrators:(RX)"
icacls %windir%\winsxs\temp\PendingRenames /grant "NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM:(RX)"
icacls %windir%\winsxs\temp\PendingRenames /grant "NT Service\trustedinstaller:(F)"
icacls %windir%\winsxs\temp\PendingRenames /grant "BUILTIN\Users:(RX)"
Takeown /f %windir%\winsxs\temp\PendingRenames\*.* /a
icacls %windir%\winsxs\temp\PendingRenames\*.*  /grant "Administrators:(RX)"
icacls %windir%\winsxs\temp\PendingRenames\*.* /grant "NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM:(RX)"
icacls %windir%\winsxs\temp\PendingRenames\*.* /grant "NT Service\trustedinstaller:(F)"
icacls %windir%\winsxs\temp\PendingRenames\*.* /grant "BUILTIN\Users:(RX)"

net stop cryptsvc && net start cryptsvc

Run it from an elevated command prompt to ensure you have adequate permissions. As the impressive matrix like text runs down your screen, take notice to the very last command when it all finishes.

"net stop cryptsvc && net start cryptsvc"

You should see this:

The Cryptographic service is stopping..
The Cryptographic service was stopped successfully.
The Cryptographic service is starting.
The Cryptographic service was started successfully.

At this point reboot your system and run "vssadmin list writers" to verify if the "System Writer" is now listed. If so, you can test your backup again and it's likely to be working. If the VSS Writer is NOT Listed, but the "Net start cryptsvc && net start cryptsvc" was successful, you are experiencing a different issue and the following steps are not applicable (Please contact our support team if you require assistance).

In our case, the "cryptsvc" doesn't appear to be registered correctly. Instead or returning the successful stop/start on the Cryptographic service, we received:

The service name is invalid.
More help is available by typing NET HELPMSG 2185.

3) Verify the Cryptographic service is enabled and operating correctly

Start -> services.msc

Wait! "The service name is invalid" actually means it's not registered and you'll likely realize that when you can't find the service in the services list.

At this point you'll likely start wondering how the? where did it go? We honestly couldn't tell you, but it's really easy to fix. Using another Windows 2008 R2 System, export the missing registry values .


If you load regedit and browse to this location, you'll notice the CryptSvc is missing. On your secondary system, right click the CryptSvc and export it to a file. You can then double click this file on your problematic system to import the missing values.

If you do not have access to another system, copy the content below into a registry file and double click to load.

File Name: cryptsvc.reg (use whatever you want as long as it ends in .reg)

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

"ObjectName"="NT Authority\\NetworkService"




Once you've loaded the registry file and repaired the missing data, reboot your system. You should now see the "Cryptographic Services" running in the "services.msc" list, "sfc /scannow" will return no errors, the "System Writer" will show up in the "vssadmin list writers" list, and your Windows Backup and Windows Updates will complete successfully.

Hopefully this helps you avoid a complete re-installation!


Comments (3) Trackbacks (3)
  1. Thanks that saved me a ton of time, I was pulling my hair out with an issue very similar to this.

  2. Thanks, the fixPermissions.bat resolved issue the windows 2008 error backup.
    and now I can do it, the backup system state.

  3. Hey –

    I found a typo on line 5 of your fixpermissions script; You used “Administratoren” instead of “Administrators”

    Great article – good compilation of other articles I found on the web…

    …i just wish it had worked for me. :S I still can’t take system backups. Even after following all this… system Writer shows on a “vssadmin list writers” command… stable and no errors, but when I run a backup it says “the system writer was not found in the backup”. :(

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