Backup for Files - System State fails with a -3 or -4 message

Written By Tami Sutcliffe (Super Administrator)

Updated at March 31st, 2021


System State Fails with a -3 or -4 message.

Resolutions: Step 1

Please check the log files in C:\Windows\logs\WindowsServerBackup.

If you find the below error please refer to this KB article.

Error in backup of C:\windows\\systemroot\ during enumerate: Error [0x8007007b] The filename, directory name, or volume label syntax is incorrect.

If the log file is blank please continue through this article.

Step 2

The -3 or -4 are generic messages and do not have any information with them. The location windows says to look in is usually empty as well. Instead, open the event viewer then navigate to Windows Logs > Applications and Services Logs > Microsoft > Windows > Back Up > Operational. In there you can see the logs and get the windows event ID and research that with Microsoft if needed.

Sometimes you can delete the system state from the source folder and then force a new System State by running a manual backup with following command from an elevated command prompt
-wbadmin.exe start systemstatebackup -backupTarget:C: -quiet "target is the drive you are backing up to" 

If the -3 or -4 comes back again then it is a issue with the system state ( wbadmin ) call function. Below is some steps you can try to resolve it. 

-If that fails check the vss writers with command "vssadmin list writers"

If they have errors follow the next instructions. If not then just restart the services below and run again.

Warning: If you use Registry Editor incorrectly, you may cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. 

Axcient and Microsoft cannot guarantee that you can solve problems that result from using Registry Editor incorrectly. Use Registry Editor at your own risk.
1.    Click Start, type regedit in the Search programs and files box, and then press ENTER.
2.    Locate and then click the following registry key:
       HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\EventSystem\{26c409cc-ae86-11d1-b616-00805fc79216}\EventClasses\{FAF53CC4-BD73-4E36-83F1-2B23F46E513E}-{00000000-0000-            0000-0000-000000000000}-{00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000}
3.    Double-click the TypeLib registry value.
4.    In the Value Data box, type %systemroot%\system32\EVENTCLS.DLL, and then click OK.
5.    Exit Registry Editor.
6.    Click Start, type services.msc in the Search programs and files box, and then press ENTER.
7.    Right-click the following services, one at a time. Click Restart for each service.
       * COM+ Event System
       * Volume Shadow Copy
       * Cryptographic service
8.    Exit the Services snap-in.
9.    Open an elevated command prompt, type vssadmin list writers, and then press ENTER.
10.  Verify that the VSS writers are now listed with command.

Run the wbadmin command again.

wbadmin.exe start systemstatebackup -backupTarget:C: -quiet

System state backup should start working now.



0x30000: The system state backup process failed with the following exit code: -3