SQL Server Recovery

Troubleshoot Microsoft SQL Server Error 3271

Stephen West ~ Modified: March 17th, 2023 ~ SQL Backup & Restore ~ 3 Minutes Reading


Summary: Just like the errors 4014, 26, 17053, etc, this Microsoft SQL server error 3271 is also troubling users. Evidently, this article is intended to solve that issue for users with the most convenient yet safe method possible. The problem,  reasons as well as solutions are covered here in the blog for users to get a detailed understanding of this error.

Table of Content

Identifying the Problem

While backing up a database in SQL server, a user may encounter failure and experience the following error:

SQL Server Error 3271

There can be numerous reasons behind SQL Server Error 3271 which all are input/output related. In this blog we will enlighten the users with the major reasons responsible for causing this error and also the proposed solutions that can help overcome it.

Why Does SQL Server Error 3271 Occur?

The major reasons responsible for the occurrences of this SQL error code 3271 are:

(i) Unavailability of space
Due to the lack of storage capacity of the drive in order to fit the backup created, the error can arise.
(ii) Issues created by VSS Writer
When some data is backed by Windows server, its replica is created in the same volume. The replica is known as Volume Shadow Copy Snapshot. For this a VSS writer is needed and if any issue is generated from its end, the SQL Error 3271 is encountered.
(iii) Corruption of SQL database
Corruption of SQL database, the one that is being backed up also proves to be a reason for the generation of this error.

If you are not sure about the actual reason of the error, then it is recommended to run a check through the SQL logs. After getting acquainted with the real reason behind the error, appropriate measures or resolutions should be deployed in order to rectify the issue and to avoid the error in future.

Microsoft SQL Server Error 3271 – Best Possible Solution

(1) Increase Storage Space

  • In case the reason behind this SQL error 3271 is lack of space in the hard drive or storage medium, the backup process gets terminated with a warning message.
  • In order for rectification, check whether the backup device has enough space to accommodate the created backup.
  • If the space is not available, create free space or you can use an external storage medium for saving the backup.

(2) VSS Writer

  • While working with VSS Writer, the problem is basically caused by a problematic SQL instance. It prevents from taking a snapshot of the database that is being backed up.
  • The first step is to figure out the instance that is creating an issue. Once the instance is identified, try running the backup process without using that instance.
  • In case you cannot figure out the instance causing the problem, then stop all the instances in the server and run the backup process.
  • It should be kept in mind that when all the instances are stopped, the SQL VSS writer will not be used while backing up.

With the help of the above manual solutions, the Microsoft SQL Server Error 3271 can be avoided and the backup process can be run successfully.


Finally, we are at the end of this article after discussing the detailed solution, reasons & other crucial aspects of this SQL server error 3271. There is no doubt that the task is simple but not without a deep understanding from the technical perspective. With the above-mentioned ways, the error can be easily solved for sure. & that too without any hassles.