Not able to get virtual boot working on any servers, not as simple as SC says.

So for just a little backstory I have been trying to get virtualboot working for weeks now. I have 3 servers currently deployed with SPX that im testing this on. Virtualboot seems to fail on all of them and I troubleshot VSS and everything else but for some reason virtualboot will never work. 

So in this instance ive been working on my companys exchange server just because I have full access to reboot when needed and to troubleshoot. Ive verified all VSS writers are happy and the backups complete successful. Ive been using virtual box 5.1.10 which is on the supported list. 

Storagecrafts instructions are very basic and pretty much just tells you to right click the backup and click virtual boot and everything should be good. Ive found other documentation though going into detailed settings through Virtualbox to get it to work. For whatever reason the server always blue screen of have a fatal boot error. 

This last test on my Exchange server im able to boot it now but it will either BSOD or get stuck on installing devices. I'm letting it sit now because Im hoping its actually installing drivers and will boot. 

My main question is though, are there any troubleshooting steps in general for this? What are the best practices and what do I need to disable/enable to get this to do a basic backup test? It just seems like this is a very long process when storagecraft said we could automate it and the virtual boot should only take minutes... 


Also, my backups are stored on a NAS and im using virtualboot from another desktop. Is this possible? We wanted a dedicated machine for "testing bakcups" that will perform all the virtual boots etc. I noticed on this workstation the virtualbox folder is extremely small, is this because its working off the backup file across the network or will it have to transfer those backup files locally to this machine before I can virtualboot? Thankyou very much for any help as I just want to be able to test my backups for my customers who are now starting to question SC after I praised them so much!






have you read the help files?

VB is a very simple process. PC with Virtual Box installed ( supported version) SPX installed.

you should be able to VB the SPX files easily.

where are you located?


Backup & Disaster Recovery in the UK.



Hey thanks for the links! I have reviewed that and the information seems dated as it still talks about plugins needing to be installed. I spoke to my SC rep yesterday and he got a sales engineer on the line and he said those plugins are no longer needed because they're built-in. I will go over the documentation again to see if theres anything im missing. 


I am located in Tempe, Arizona if you're referring to my physical location..?

Is there anything else that can mess it up or any best practices or things to check in general? the full says it completes fine and every VSS writer is in an optimal state and not a failed state. 


Thankyou again for the help.


Regarding the extra files creating by VirtualBox

Also the engineer confirmed that I may have to manually go into the NAS folder and delete those XSP and SPWB files that virtualbox creates. I choose the option to delete files but they seem to create them anyways. Not to mention if I use image manager to automate virtual boot and take screenshots, no where is there any options on if it deletes the VM after and how it handles those files. Ive read if those files stay in the directory it will cause issues with image manager. No where in the documentation does it do a deep dive on why this happens or how to automate it so it doesn't happen. 


Hi Sid,The .XSP files are

Hi Sid,

The .XSP files are the files that VirtualBox is pointed to for VirtualBoot.  It treats those files as if they were the virtual hard drives.  So the .XSP files are sort of like an intermediary between the .SPI files and VirtualBox.

The .SPWB files are storing the changes in the images.  ​Shadow​Protect ​Write ​Buffer files.

In reality, you can probably keep the .spwb files because they hang aroud after a writeable mount even.  The idea is that you can just re-mount that point in time and even unsaved changes will be available again.

The .XSP files may indeed cause ImageManager to hang up however.  I believe if it sees them, it cancels consolidation and retention for that chain so that it doesn't disturb the VirtualBoot process.

I have a few thoughts and suggestions regarding your experience with VirtualBoot.

  • Keep In mind that the fact you're seeing a bluescreen does mean that VirtualBoot is indeed presenting the disks to VirtualBox.  It is highly likely that your issue lies with VirtualBox rather than ShadowProtect.  With that in mind, any googling may work better if VirtualBox is in your keywords rather than ShadowProtect.
  • Have you tried using the Hyper-V version of VirtualBoot?  Here's how to give it a shot - BTW, you can't use this option on a desktop-OS since the Hyper-V plugin only works on Windows Server OS's.
    ​All software downloads are available here:
    ​I'm going to assume you can find your way around Hyper-V a bit, so I'm not going into details of that as a hypervisor.  If you have a general understanding of hypervisor config, such as vSwitches, etc. you should be fine.

    1. Uninstall VirtualBox.  It's not compatible with Hyper-V.  Reboot.
    ​2. Install the Hyper-V role on the server. Reboot.
    3. Ensure the backup server has the latest version of ShadowProtect SPX installed.  ShadowProtect 5 can't do Hyper-V VirtuaBoot.  You don't need a license for ShadowProtect in order to do VirtualBoot, so don't worry if you don't have one.
    ​4. Install the VirtualBoot Hyper-V plugin.
    ​5. Now try VirtualBoot again.  Select Hyper-V when prompted.  The VirtualBoot server will come up without a NIC I believe, so you'll have to point it to a vSwitch configured on the backup server's NIC.  Note that you may need to add a legacy Ethernet NIC to the VirtualBooted server for it to connect as well, unless you install the Hyper-V tools into the VM.

Lastly, can you provide a screenshot of the bluescreen you're getting?  Maybe there's some info in it that we can use to help troubleshoot what's going on.

As my credentials, I have the StorageCraft Engineer certification.  I'm quite a fan of the product and the things it can do.  Generally when something isn't working, it's not because the StorageCraft piece isnt' working, but rather because another involved product such as the backup server, or VirtualBox, etc. is acting up and preventing ShadowProtect from doing its job.


StorageCraft Certified Engineer



Thanks for the help. This server is a VM and for some reason even though VTX is enabled hyper V says it cannot be enabled so for now I've been trying Virtual Box and also we have a dedicated "test" machine we've been using now and its windows 7 so I can't use Hyper V either. 


I just checked the latest screenshot of the advanced verification and it looks like its a loading screen and not a BSOD but every other one is a BSOD. The error is SYSTEM_SERVICE_EXCEPTION. 


I noticed SPX quite often says it did not use VSS for the snapshot. In Event viewer its showing the typical VSS semaphore timeout errors that can be caused by high I/O. This is an exchange server so i'm not sure if there is even anything I can troubleshoot or if this is normal. Do you guys always get the VSS not used error or should VSS typically always work? Im doing 15 minute snapshots and ALL VSS writers are healthy. I walked through the steps to troubleshoot VSS per SCs article as well and VSS seems to be fine. 

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