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Windows Change Journal not working with Offhost Backup

Created: 06 Sep 2012 • Updated: 13 Sep 2012 | 10 comments
This issue has been solved. See solution.

After my Update to Backup Exec 2012 I wanted to try using Off Host Backups for our file server. The data is stored on a Dell Power Vault MD 3000i and I am using the newest hardware snapshot provider from Dell: SmVssProvider (Version 10.80.10). I also want to use True Image Restore and therefore created a backup job with the "using catalogs" option.

Now I ran into the following issue:
I created a backup job with "using catalogs" and the hardware snapshot provider. Full and incremental jobs seem to work fine.
If I change the job definition to use the Offhost feature the full backup job runs way faster but I get the following warning for incremental jobs:

"The Windows Change Journal is unavailable or incomplete. This resource will be backed up without using the Windows Change Journal."

If I understood correctly this means Backup Exec has to use the catalogs instead of the NTFS change journal leading to a significant performance impact.

Can anybody help me finding the reason for this issue?

Comments 10 CommentsJump to latest comment

CraigV's picture

Try turning off this setting in the job: Collect additional information for synthetic backup and true image restore. See if this resolves your issue.


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SFietzek's picture

This option doesn't exist anymore in Backup Exec 2012. There is only the option to select the backup method from modification time, archive bit or using catalog. If you select using catalog as I did the information for true image restore will always be collected.

VJware's picture

Verbatim from HOWTO74328

Backup Exec uses the Windows Change Journal to determine if a file has changed since the last time it was backed up.

Backup Exec compares path names, modified times, deleted and renamed files and folders, and other attributes. If the Change Journal is not available, Backup Exec compares the file information to previous Backup Exec catalogs to determine if it has changed. This method is required for synthetic backups and true image restore. It is the most thorough method, but it takes more time to run.

SFietzek's picture

VJware is exactly right. This is the way it should work.

If I use a normal backup policy it is working as expected. But when using the offhost feature I get the message that the Cahnge Journal is not available or incoplete as explained above.

The question is why do I get this message?

Is it by design that NTFS Change Journal is not working with offhost backups? Or is there a bug in BE2012? Does it depent on the hardware snapshot provider and it is a fault of Dell?

In fact in my case Change Journal processing is not working with offhost backups but seems to be with normal ones. Nothing about that in the docu or KB.

VJware's picture

I have seen this issue earlier, when the selection list contains network shares data in addition to local disk data...Is this the case here as well ?

SFietzek's picture

No it is not. The selection list contains only several folders on one local volume of the foreign server (the server I want to backup). This volume is located on the iSCSI-SAN. The Remote Agent is installed on the server and uptodate as well as the latest hardware snapshot provider of the SAN.

Can I read out of your post that it should work?

marcusolini's picture

Hi.  When able, please collect the Change Journal diagnostic information for all of the volumes selected for the Off-host backup and post the information for review.  Thank you.

(1) FSUTIL USN QUERYJOURNAL <volume-drive-letter>:


SFietzek's picture

It's only one volume (drive e:) of the file server in the selection list. Here are the requested data:

USN-Journalkennung     : 0x01c9994e90ae061e
Erste USN              : 0x000000068a800000
Nächste USN            : 0x000000068c920f88
Niedrigste gültige USN : 0x0000000000000000
Maximale USN           : 0x00000fffffff0000
Maximale Größe         : 0x0000000002000000
Reservierungsdelta     : 0x0000000000400000

I hope you can handle the german output.

VJware's picture

Digged a bit further & I found this from the admin guide ~ (this is from BE 2010's admin guide, but looks like this applies for BE 2012 as well )..found a KB as well -

Advanced Disk-based Option offhost backup does not support the following:

■ The option Checkpoint Restart.
■ Volumes that run Windows BitLocker Drive Encryption.
The option Use the MicrosoftChangeJournal if available for differential and
incremental backups, unless you select the modified time method.

■ Exchange Agent backup jobs that are configured to use Symantec Continuous
Protection Server (CPS).

Guess this explains it.

SFietzek's picture

I just checked the BE2012 admin guide and it seems that the relevant section got updated:

Off-host backup supports the following:

  • Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS).
  • Backups for the NTFS volumes that use the full, incremental, and differential backup methods.
  • SQL Agent backups for Microsoft SQL Server 2000 databases.
  • Exchange Agent backups for Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 [...]

Advanced Disk-based Option off-host backup does not support the following:

  • The option Checkpoint Restart.
  • Volumes that run Windows BitLocker Drive Encryption.

So no reference to the Change Journal anymore.

I verified that the knowledge base article you referred to is right. Catalog method (and so NTFS journal) isn't working at all with offhost backup. When it comes to the restore nothing is happening at all.
In fact this means true image restore and offhost backup are sold together as one option but don't work together. You have to decide to use the one or the other.

For me this looks like a enormous impact in functionality and a point to fix. I will submit a feature request for this in the Idea section.