Microsoft SQL Server Native Error Code 3271

While performing I/O operation, if an issue occurs with Operating System when backup or restoration procedure is in process; SQL error 3271 takes place.

"A nonrecoverable I/O error occurred on file "%ls:" %ls."

The major reasons for the occurrence of this error are:

  • Lack of space on storage disk.
  • SQL Server VSS Writer.

There are different reasons and causes associated to this SQL error code 3271 that are described thoroughly in the upcoming sections.

Description over Occurrence and Resolution

Explanation# 1: This may occur due to the lack of space in the storage media. This error message may be incorporated with the additional text that denotes that the memory on the storage device is full.

If the backup is generated via third party applications; the error text displayed on the screen notifies backup failure. The message indicates that the current session of the backup and restore procedure must be terminated.

Troubleshoot Measures: If this error message originated due to the above mentioned reason, the following methods can be used to troubleshoot the error 3271 in SQL Server;

  • Check Error Logs: Reviewing SQL Server logs for the corresponding error or the underlying message may help in detecting the actual cause of the error message. The associated cause responsible for the existence of error message must be treated with appropriate resolution at the earliest for rectifying the issue.
  • Memory Device: Ensure that there is enough memory space on storage device to handle the backup and restore operation.
  • Backup Medium: Detect if there are any issues raised via backup device and if any such errors found; correct them by implementing the suitable resolution methods.

The above stated resolutions help rectifying the corresponding error message, if the reason behind the error code is the lack of space on storage device. In addition, there is another side of the Microsoft SQL Server error 3271, as this error can also takes place due to SQL VSS Writer; and this is described in the following section.

Explanation# 2: When disk volume is backed up via Windows Server; a replica also known as "Volume Shadow Copy Snapshot" is developed\generated for the same volume. Further, it calls upon the associated VSS Writer and if an error is encountered via any of corresponding VSS Writer, it leads to the failure of the backup operation.

Troubleshoot Measures: In the upcoming section, the resolution method for resolving the error, if it occurred due to SQL Server VSS Write has been mentioned;

  • Check SQL Instance: Here, the SQL error 3271 is caused due to an SQL instance. So, it is essential to review these instances for detecting the accurate cause of error. When the actual cause or the SQL instance responsible for the occurrence of error message is identified; immediately stop the particular instance and then run the entire backup to testify if the detected issue is correct.

If the current backup operation gets completed successfully, it shows that the particular SQL instance (that is stopped) is responsible for the error. Further, the SQL error logs can be accessed thoroughly to determine the cause behind the inappropriate functionality of this instance.

An Alternate Solution to Salvage SQL Backup Files

The above mentioned troubleshoot measures are solely technical and must be implemented with strict attention. There is a possibility of data loss or the entire SQL database could become inaccessible if the above stated procedures are not executed accordingly. Therefore, to avoid the adverse aftereffects, you may use an alternate resolution method, known as SQL BAK recovery tool; that helps in recovering the SQL BAK (backup) files in case of corruption or any other issues like Microsoft SQL Server error 3271 and helps restoring them on machine.

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