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SQL Server Troubleshooting

Snapshot Agent: The process could not create file \\<UNC-file>


A snapshot agent has failed, the associated error message being:

The process could not create file \\<UNC-file>

The NT event log may also contain an information message of the form:

SubSystem Message - Job '<SERVER>-<DATABASE>-<SNAPSHOT NAME>-1' (<hex-number>, step 2 - The process could not create file \\<UNC-file>

After an initial set-up of replication the 'UNC-file' will be something like '\\<server-name>\ c$\ mssql\ ReplData\ unc\ <server>_<database>_<snapshot name>'.

Possible Causes:

The snapshot agent could not create or could not read the specified file.


  • If the UNC filename is using a default share (e.g. C$ or D$) then the location of the snapshot directory to use an explicit share. I would recommend sharing 'ReplData' as 'REPLDATA' giving the local 'SQLServerAgent' account full access, and the 'SQLServerAgent' process on any remote subscriber servers 'Read-only' access. The location of the snapshot folder can then be specified as:


    This is specified under Tools -> Replication -> Configure Publishing, Subscribers and Distribution ...'; select the 'Publishers' tab and double-click the publisher to print up its properties.

  • If the UNC filename is not using the default share then check the permissions on the share. See recommendations in point above.

These notes are believed to be correct for SQL Server 7 and may apply to other versions as well.

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