Error 0x81000203 in System Restore and VSS

When you open the System Properties dialog (sysdm.cpl) and click System Protection, the error 0x81000203 occurs. Here’s the full error message verbatim:

There was an unexpected error in the property page:

System Restore encountered an error. Please try to run System Restore again. (0x81000203)

Please close the property page and try again.

system restore 0x81000203

Under “Protection Settings” the “Available Drives” field may show “Searching…” and the disk drives don’t appear.

system restore 0x81000203

Also, none of the vssadmin.exe console commands work. Running the list vssadminshadowstorage or vssadminresizeshadowstorage commands would return the following error:

No items found that satisfy the query.

The Application event log shows the following events:

Log Name: Application
Source: VSS
Event ID: 12293
Task Category: None
Volume Shadow Copy Service error: Error calling a routine on a Shadow Copy Provider {b5946137-7b9f-4925-af80-51abd60b20d5}. Routine details IVssSnapshotProvider::IsVolumeSupported() failed with 0x8000ffff [hr = 0x8000ffff, Catastrophic failure].

Log Name: Application
Source: VSS
Event ID: 12289
Level: Error
Volume Shadow Copy Service error: Unexpected error DeviceIoControl(\\?\Volume{992b5b8c-3b45-4b15-b42f-ce2612d6e01a} - 00000000000002EC,0x00530024,0000000000000000,0,0000013564406940,4096,[0]). hr = 0x80070001, Incorrect function.

This happens even though the following services start started and running:

  • Volume Shadow Copy ( vss)
  • Virtual Disk (vds)
  • Microsoft Software Shadow Copy Provider (swprv)


The above issue happens if an uninstaller has deleted the UpperFilters registry value under the Storage Volume Class GUID. The registry value should have volsnap as the value data.

Kaspersky’s Antivirus uninstaller tool is known to cause this issue.


To fix the System Restore and VSS error 0x81000203, restore the UpperFilters registry value.

  1. Start Regedit.exe and go to:
  2. Create a new REG_MULTI_SZ value named UpperFilters
  3. Double-click UpperFilters.
  4. In the Value data field, type volsnap and click OK.

    system restore 0x81000203 - upperfilters

  5. Click OK when you see the following message:
    Data of type REG_MULTI_SZ cannot contain empty strings.
    Registry Editor will remove all empty strings found.
  6. Make sure the value/data looks like this:
    system restore 0x81000203 - upperfilters
  7. Exit the Registry Editor and restart Windows.


Storage Volumes
Class = Volume
ClassGuid = {71a27cdd-812a-11d0-bec7-08002be2092f}

This class includes storage volumes as defined by the system-supplied logical volume manager and class drivers that create device objects to represent storage volumes, such as the system disk class driver.

That should fix the System Protection settings dialog and the Volume Shadow Copy feature in Windows.

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Ramesh Srinivasan is passionate about Microsoft technologies and he has been a consecutive ten-time recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award in the Windows Shell/Desktop Experience category, from 2003 to 2012. He loves to troubleshoot and write about Windows. Ramesh founded in 2005.

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