Backups giving warnings for BCD and BCD.log

SUMMARY

BP: Skipped because failed to read the attributes of the file. The process cannot access the file because it is being used by another process. (32)

ISSUE

You may see the following warnings during backups:

//?/Volume{25c407c5-0775-11e3-93e8-806e6f6e6963}/Boot/BCD BP: Skipped because failed to read the attributes of the file. The process cannot access the file because it is being used by another process. (32) 
//?/Volume{25c407c5-0775-11e3-93e8-806e6f6e6963}/Boot/BCD.LOG BP: Skipped because failed to read the attributes of the file. The process cannot access the file because it is being used by another process. (32) 

This error generally indicates that the boot partition is a fat32 file system, and is also NOT C:/.  This is seen most commonly on OEM systems, and recently Dell has begun using this practice as have some other vendors.  
The presence of a BCD file in a partition that is not C: indicates the system likely has 2 operating systems installed, where one OS is the OEM manufacturers pre-boot or diagnostic OS, and the other is Windows.  The boot operations are by OEM customization located in this other partition, which recently has seen to be configured as Fat32 instead of NTFS, and thus lacks VSS protections.  Dual OS deployments on one system is a configuration baremetal generally cannot support, but there are conditions where Unitrends can still protect the system.  This article describes the options we can provide to protect the system as a whole.   

 

RESOLUTION

The following options may resolve this issue:  
First, verify that the boot partition noted in the output is indeed fat32 in disk management on the computer in question
If so, there are many options to resolve this issue:

  1. Contact the OEM vendor and ask them if it is possible to remove their OEM partition without a redeployment of the OS, or to modify the boot configuration to ensure the boot volume is C:.  
    • Some vendors do release a tool to do this, which may be of significant convenience.  
    • This may be best option as it will ensure all modern tools can be used for server recovery to original hardware.  
  2. Confirm the asset is not using EFI and is not using GPT partitions or any form of Microsoft Dynamic Disk.  If this is the case, the following can be done:
    1. Exclude the BCD files noted from agent based protection to eliminate the error.  
    2. a COLD baremetal backup using the ISO media created from the baremetal windows application must be done.  This must include all relevant partitions
    • This should be done at least as often as the AD tombstone period for systems joined to AD.  This process requires production outage to collect the Baremetal backup.  
    • A Hot baremetal cannot be used in this case as it cannot protect Fat32 partitions.  
  3. Follow KB https://unitrends-support.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/360013148117 to reallocate the BCD boot configuration to C: (WARNING , this is a risk, and may result in an unbootable system)
    • Before performing this operation, ensure you can recover or rebuild your system and perform file and application level recovery of any necessary data. 
    • Only do this if the vendor cannot provide a tool or specific process to do this for you.  
  4. Redeploy the OS using a Microsoft retail hologram version of windows or a volume license or other contract license and do not use the OEM configuration in production.  
    • Note: eliminating the OEM partition entirely may eliminate some OEM functions including onboard diagnostic capabilities or other management tools. 
    • that said, eliminating the OEM license opens the door to dissimilar and virtual recovery as well as DRaaS options, which is an option not otherwise possible for OEM licenses.  (see below)
  5. Leverage High Availability technologies and avoid the need for OS level redeployment in the event of an outage.  
    • In this case, exclusion not only of the BCD files can be done, but typically also elimination of the system metadata (systemstate) backup and potentially Windows or application directories as well.
  6. Change System Partition from Fat32 to NTFS leaving files intact (Server 2008 and higher)
    • Add a drive letter system partition.
    • Use an elevated DOS prompt
    • Run Convert B: /FS:NTFS
    • Select Option Yes to Temporarily Dismount Volume during conversion
    • Utility will convert to NTFS without destroying the boot files.
    • Remove drive letter from system partition.
    • Reboot OS


Extreme caution should be taken with this process.  We recommend contacting your OEM vendor for true remediation on how to proceed once this condition is encountered.  

To determine if your OEM server may create DR complications, we strongly recommend that every server have a planned disaster recovery process and be directly tested for likely recovery scenarios.  Unitrends offers tools to Enterprise Plus licensed customers including new advanced options called Copy Data Management in release 10.0 to automate and report on such testing.  
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