In Windows Vista, the following error message may occur when using System Restore, either manually to create restore points or during application and drive installation.

Can’t create system restore point. Shadow Copying the specified volumn is not supported. (0x8004230C)
Please try again.

Windows Vista System Restore is not the only affected backup and recovery program though. Other operating system such as Windows Server 2003, when using Symantec Backup Exec, may encounter the same 0x8004230C error code with following message:

OFO: Initialization failure on: “\\server-name\Shadow?Copy?Components”. Advanced Open File Option used: Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS).
OFO: Snapshot error (0x8004230c): 0x8004230c (2147754764). Unexpected provider error.

The error happens because the Microsoft Software Shadow Copy Provider service is stopped or disabled. The Microsoft Software Shadow Copy Provider Service manages software-based volume shadow copies taken by the Volume Shadow Copy service. If this service is stopped, software-based volume shadow copies cannot be managed. If this service is disabled, such as when you disable Shadow Copy manually, any services that explicitly depend on it will fail to start.

To fix the issue, ensure that Microsoft Software Shadow Copy Provider Service (SWPRV) and the Volume Shadow Copy (VSS) services are running. To do so, click Start menu, then type services.msc in the Start Search box (in non Windows Vista OS, click on Run command box), and hit Enter.

In the Services control panel, locate Microsoft Software Shadow Copy Provider and Volume Shadow Copy. Double click on both services, and set the “Startup type” to Automatic. By default, the Startup type is manual, and Windows will automatically start them when needed. Set to automatic startup will ensure that the services are always loaded when Windows boots up. If the services are currently disabled, click on Start Service button to start the services immediately.