Error 5 (access denied) when trying to start Volume Shadow Copy service (VSS)

System: Win 7 Ultimate x64 on an HP Pavilion DV6. My account is the only proper user account on the laptop and is an admin account.

When trying to do a system restore, it came up with an error that the Volume Shadow Copy Service was not working, though that error code is irrelevant for the purposes of this question as I later managed to run system restore in safe mode from an old restore point...

When trying to turn on VSS, I checked services.msc (which I ran as administrator) and VSS was off and was on manual. I tried clicking start, the following error came up:

"Windows could not start the Volume Shadow Copy service on Local Computer.
Error 5: Access is denied."

I then changed it to automatic and tried again, same error. I have since tried everything I can possibly think of (including setting it back and forth between manual & auto while trying the below solutions) to get the service to start, to no avail. Solutions tried so far:

- net start vss in elevated cmd - returns the same error (error 5 access is denied)
- vssvc.exe in elevated cmd - same
- changed permissions to full control for myself, admin group and NETWORK SERVICE (which I had to add) for System32 folder and for vssvc.exe but no change
- changed permissions to full control for myself, admin group and NETWORK SERVICE (which I again had to add) for VSS in regedit (opened as admin) still nothing
- even tried restarting explorer.exe from an elevated cmd and an elevated task manager and did the permissions again - still nothing.

The only thing I haven't done yet is run an sfc scan, but tbh I doubt that'll fix anything. It also seems that VSS has been off for a while, as my last restore point was approx 3 months ago and I've installed things since.

Any suggestions/ideas would be very much appreciated, as I'm completely out of ideas now! Thank you!


Windows Forum Team
Staff member
Premium Supporter
you still need to ran as admin even when you are on a admin account but are there any other cows running at this time?
p.s, also does this system have the gwx running perhaps?

you still need to ran as admin even when you are on a admin account but are there any other cows running at this time?
p.s, also does this system have the gwx running perhaps?
Thanks but unfortunately doesn't help - as mentioned, I specifically ran everything as administrator (right-click, run as admin) once I figured out it wasn't going to be an easy fix. No gwx. Cows??


Fantastic Member
Premium Supporter
Hi there and welcome to the forum :up:

Sorry to hear about your System Restore problem. When the System Restore app and or VSS service stops working it's usually due to one or more of these 3 causes:

1.) Virus/malware infected your system
2.) Windows system file corruption or missing file
3.) Hardware failure; usually the Hard Drive or bad RAM memory stick

The good news is we can help you fix this problem, but it requires time and patience. If you are in a hurry, we'd suggest instead to take it your local Computer repair shop any pay a licensed Tech to fix your problem. I do this for a living, and I can tell you this can take from 3-4 days to 3 weeks or more depending on the resources available such as if you have Factory Recovery Media for you Win7 OS from HP or not.

If this is not an option for you due to cost, or you'd prefer to learn how to repair your own computer, DIY, then here are some basic steps to get you going. We solve hundreds of these same computer failures every month here.


Next, the methodology we often use is to test your laptop for hardware failure since applying software solutions didn't work for you this should be done first, as NO SOFTWARE SOLUTION ON THE PLANET WILL FIX BROKEN HARDWARE!!

To test your hardware, you will need either some blank DVD discs (cost about $0.20 US each) or a 16GB USB stick (cost about $10-$15 US).

A very common problem we see on computers that are 5-6 years old running W7 are failed hard drives and failed RAM memory sticks:

Memory Diagnostics
Hard Drive Diagnostic Procedure

If the RAM test (MEMTEST) or SEATOOLS or other drive diagnostic listed returns any errors, make sure you replace that failed item or items with good quality replacement components of similar capacity and specs. Re-run the diagnostic after you replace broken components until tests above produce no errors.

With known good RAM and HARD DRIVE, you can now proceed with a Windows reset or Windows reinstallation; both of these are similar but are slightly different. The best way to do this is to start with factory RECOVERY DISCS or RECOVERY USB STICK if you have it. Modern computers built with W7 in 2009 or later often don't have either of these in the box when you first opened your laptop and unpacked it. Normally, most laptop makers have a CREATE RECOVERY MEDIA type program which is usually found in Start->Programs or Control Panel and may be under the MAINTENANCE program group. These programs will let you burn a DVD disc or USB stick which will erase everything on your current hard drive (including viruses and malware) and install a fresh copy of Win7 and all the drivers and programs that originally came on your laptop from the factory. We call this resetting the laptop to OOB (Out-Of-Box) condition.

At this point, once the factory Recovery Media and Win7 OS install program have done their thing, and any number of reboots later, your laptop should be back to working properly. Do not install any web updates (such as Adobe or Java), no antivirus or antispyware or firewall programs, nor any other programs such as Photoshop or Microsoft Office before going further. Simply connect your laptop to the Internet via a wifi or wired Ethernet cable connection and test for Internet connectivity. Stop here.

Next, go back into System Restore via whichever method is easiest for you and enable it. In most Win7 computers, System Restore is DISABLED from the factory, and must be re-enabled in order to work. Please re-enable your System Restore and use Default Settings. Run the System Restore and SELECT "CREATE RESTORE POINT" it should then create your first System Restore point on that computer on the newly reset Win7. You can label it something like "RPT=INITIAL RESTORE POINT AFTER WIN7 INSTALL". From there you can open the System Restore app and you should be able to see that single new Restore point you just created (that can take several minutes depending on the size of your hard drive). You may see 1 or 2 system created Restore Points that were created by Windows in that list as well. Don't worry about those or delete them. Just make sure that the new one you created is listed. If it is, chances are good your System Restore is working again. :up:

Before you start installing your web updates and reinstalling all your old programs from Internet download or install Media (Discs or USB), it might be a good idea to test your System Restore before you load it up with various apps and junk and see if it works. To do this it's a really good idea to use an Image Backup program that takes a backup Image or snapshot of your entire hard drive. We like to recommend the MACRIUM REFLECT program to do this, as we have tested it very thoroughly on W7/8x/10. Here's the link to get it: You will need to have or buy an external hard drive for about $60-$70 US on ebay or amazon in order to store your Image Backup file to in case your System Restore doesn't work or scrambles your new W7 install setup. Here's an example of what that looks like: WD 1TB Black My Passport Ultra Portable External Hard Drive - USB 3.0 - WDBGPU0010BBK-NESN: Computers & Accessories

This is a 1TB capacity USB drive and should work to backup most laptops made in 2009, as all but a very few expensive laptops came with larger drives 6 years ago (over $2,000 original cost).

Once you make a Macrium backup image and store it on your new usb external drive, you are ready to try running a System Restore on your laptop. Here's a video tutorial to help you make the backup:

System Restore should take from 10 min. to a couple of hours, and after the final reboot, everything should be working again after you get a "Your Windows has been successfully restored to date/time" that you selected to restore to. If this works, and it should, you now know for certain that your System Restore (VSS) are working properly, and this has been tested ok. :up:

If for any reason you get a failure to restore, or a failure error message from Windows, and your system won't boot any longer after the Restore test, you can easily run the Macrium restore program and it will access your Backup Image file (snapshot) of your Win7 when last working, and overwrite your hard drive with the Backup Image file you stored on your USB external drive as per above. **DO NOT FORGET TO CREATE THE RESCUE MEDIA ON DVD OR USB AS RECOMMENDED BY THE MACRIUM PROGRAM!!** All should work normally after reboot. Check for Internet. :up:

This is a lot of work, and that's why very few home users ever do something as extensive as actually testing that their System Restore works (the Windows one). If it does, you now know that going forward if you experience either a software failure or a hardware failure, you have the ability to recover from both using your System Restore (Windows) or the Image Backup file (Macrium). :encouragement:

Last words here, are that it would be a very good idea to print out this customized repair procedure on your printer, or from another computer so you have hard copy to follow if you run into any computer problems with your laptop while troubleshooting or you crash it.

In all but a few instances, this should resolve your VSS shadow copy problem. If it doesn't you are probably facing a faulty Motherboard and a very expensive repair to fix that around $275-$1500 US.

Post back if you have any questions along the way.
Best of luck,:encouragement:



Last edited:
Hi there and welcome to the forum :up:

Sorry to hear about your System Restore problem. When the System Restore app and or VSS service stops working it's usually due to one or more of these 3 causes:

1.) Virus/malware infected your system
2.) Windows system file corruption or missing file
3.) Hardware failure; usually the Hard Drive or bad RAM memory stick
Thanks for taking the time to post the above. It's definitely not malware/virus or a hardware problem as I have tested for both, and I'm running sfc /scannow from an elevated cmd right now, so I'll post an update if it comes up with anything significant.

In the meantime, do you have any suggestions which do not require reinstalling Windows, as that's not really an option right now? Also, I've got Acronis if I really need to restore my system again soon, so I don't see much point in reinstalling just because of the VSS. Particularly, do you have any suggestions or information regarding the 'Access is denied' error, such as where it's coming from or what's causing it specifically?

Just writing an update to say I managed to solve the issue by turning off my AV completely before trying to start the service again and it worked (I obviously changed it back to manual once it started)!

Annoyingly, I had actually already tried this before by turning off individual components of my AV at a time (eg firewall), but for some reason had overlooked trying to turn the whole thing off...

Out of interest, does anyone have any idea what in the AV (KIS 2015) would be blocking VSS from starting suddenly (I haven't changed any of its settings from before the issue arose)?


Windows Forum Team
Staff member
Premium Supporter
it prob just doesn't allow anything it cann't understand... i'm not a fan of kaspersky so perhaps someone else is better here
thanks for getting back to us thou as its always nice to see how things turn out


Fantastic Member
Premium Supporter
Hi again,
thanks for posting back. Glad you got it fixed! :up:. Yes, we have seen Kaspersky blocking Windows system files such as NTUSER.dat and that it turn blocks svchost.exe from allowing the VSS services to run and create the shadow copy.:headache: The other problem is that Kaspersky is not well liked by many of us experienced Techs here for the inability to temporarily turn off the entire program with one or two clicks of the mouse. Norton, McAfee, TrendMicro, and others all force you to go into the program or use the system tray iteratively to turn off key modules. At the very least you must turn off Real-time Protection module, and the Firewall module. Avast is the only AV software that allows you disable ALL protection in all modules at once; something they call "disable all shields". Avast calls their protection modules "shields" as you can guess. Kaspersky's detection numbers and overall ratings by independent AV testing companies are getting better, but I've never been a fan. As soon as a computer comes in for repair to my shop and I see Kaspersky on there, the first thing I do is remove it and replace with one of the others I mentioned.:iee:
The AV-TEST independent AV testing agency in Madgeburg, Germany rates Kaspersky in their 2016 top AV programs, but our experience here doesn't confirm this.:noway: In any case, clearly the Kaspsersky was causing your VSS problem and you should remove it and change to one of the others I mentioned. Here's the link to the 2016 AV-TEST results fyi:
AV-TEST – The Independent IT-Security Institute

My 2 personal favorites are Avast (free or paid) and Norton Internet Security. Interestingly, AV-TEST doesn't rate Avast with their "TOP" rating; and I'm not sure why, as it has been rated the #1 AV in Europe for the last several years by other independent AV testing agencies in the U.S. I run both of these, and I've installed about 200 client computers with Avast in my area, primarily the free version as I live in a low-income rural area and most of my customers are seniors on fixed income and can't afford paid AV subscriptions. Neither Avast nor Norton will inhibit the VSS feature.

Probably more information than you wanted, but that's our take on it. Chances are since Kaspersky is in Eastern Europe (Russia) it may take them another year or more to fix this and other problems with Win10. Typically, they seem to be behind the curve when it comes to making their product work smoothly with the latest Windows version. No doubt, you're problem will be reported if it hasn't already been, and they will fix it eventually. Maybe...


This website is not affiliated, owned, or endorsed by Microsoft Corporation. It is a member of the Microsoft Partner Program.