SQL Server Recovery

Troubleshoot Microsoft SQL Server Error 3271

Stephen West ~ Modified: October 16th, 2023 ~ SQL Backup & Restore ~ 7 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.

Quick Steps to Solve the SQL Server Error 3271

  • Start by downloading and launching the tool on your PC.
  • Open it and add your database files.
  • Pick either Quick or Advanced Scan mode.
  • Configure settings and choose the destination.
  • Finally, click “Export” to fix SQL error 3271.

Identifying the Problem

While backing up a database in an 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 a 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 for 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 avoid the error in the future.

Microsoft SQL Server Error 3271 – Best Possible Solution

(1) Increase Storage Space

  • In case the reason behind this SQL error 3271 is a 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.

An Alternate Solution for Corruption of SQL Database

Though the above troubleshoot measures are easily accessible but are solely technical and require strict attention. Besides this, there is a chance of data loss or the entire SQL database being out of reach if the steps are not followed properly. Therefore, to avoid such effects, you can instill the expert solution i.e. SQL Recovery tool in your workflow. Not only does it act as a troubleshoot measure wizard. But also saves from Corrupt SQL database backups that cause an error. Thus, it can be an incredible help to issues like Microsoft SQL Server error 3271.

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Features of SQL Recovery Tool are:

  • Table, Trigger, Rule, View, Function, and Procedure Preview & Recovery
  • SQL Recovery Software Retrieves Deleted Records and All Database Objects
  • Seamlessly Export Data to New or Existing SQL Server Databases
  • Export Data as SQL-Compatible Scripts When SQL Server is Absent
  • Easily Export Table Records to CSV Format
  • Compatibility with SQL Database Versions from 2000 to 2022
  • Effortlessly Export Recovered Data to Networked SQL Servers
  • Selectively Save Files with Schema or Schema + Data
  • Recover Data from MDF Files Affected by Ransomware


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. Besides the manual methods, opt for the professional solution to safely and securely solve the SQL server error without any data loss.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What is SQL Server Error 3271, and when does it occur?

A: This error generally occurs when a user is attempting to backup the SQL Server database. Also, it becomes significant when there are issues related to input/output operations during the backup process.

Q2: What are the main reasons behind Issue 3271?

A: The major reasons for this error are: 

  • Insufficient storage space for the backup.
  • Issues related to the Volume Shadow Copy Snapshot (VSS Writer).
  • Corruption of the SQL database being backed up.

Q3: How can I resolve a Server Error if I encounter it during a backup operation?

A: To resolve the Database Server Error 3271, you can consider the following solutions:

  • Increase storage space on the backup device.
  • Address issues with the VSS Writer by identifying and stopping problematic SQL instances during the backup process.
  • You can download and launch the SQL recovery tool.

Q4: How to Identify the Specific Reason for SQL Server Error 3271?

A: To find out the specific reason behind this error 3271 follow the steps:

  • Review SQL logs for error details.
  • Logs will reveal the root cause, such as storage space, VSS Writer, or database corruption.

Q5: What are the consequences of Not Resolving Microsoft SQL problem 3271 Promptly?

A: If you didn’t solve this error quickly, it could lead to:

  • Risk of interrupted database backups.
  • Potential data loss and data integrity issues.

Q6: Is it safe to stop all SQL instances on the server to resolve Microsoft Error related to VSS Writer issues?

A: It’s safe to temporarily stop all SQL instances. Further, this prevents the SQL VSS writer during backup. However, remember to restart instances for normal operations once you are done resolving them.

Q7: Can you provide an alternative solution for resolving errors if the issues persist after trying the manual methods mentioned in the article?

A: If this error persisted after implementing the manual methods, you could look for alternative solutions such as:

  • Check for hardware or disk-related issues.
  • Update SQL Server or Windows.
  • Download and install the SQL recovery tool to solve the issue in minutes.

Q8: What precautions should I take when increasing storage space for resolving SQL Server Error 3271 due to lack of space?

A: Here are some of the precautions that you should take when increasing storage space to resolve the prevalent error: 

  • Ensure a reliable backup of your data before making changes.
  • Verify the added storage is compatible and properly configured with your system.
  • Be cautious when manipulating data during the process to prevent data loss or system instability.