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Norton Deadlock Issue when Creating Backup Using PHYLock


When creating a backup using PHYLock with Image for Windows one or more of the following occasionally occurs:

  • Backup never begins.
  • Backup stops progressing. Progress bar animation and/or times may continue.
  • Backup completes, but Image for Windows never exits or reports the completion.

The system will at first be partially responsive (some functions/programs working, others not) and become increasingly unresponsive as user attempts to interact with Windows. Programs started may be displayed as a border and titlebar with a solid white client area (blank window). The System process may report constant CPU usage, which increases as additional processes become unresponsive. The system will eventually become completely unresponsive and require a hard reset or power-off.

This problem does not appear to be unique to Image for Windows and PHYLock -- other programs utilizing moderate to heavy disk I/O are also likely to be affected. Examples from experience include compressing a large file, installing Windows updates, running virtual machines, etc. Additionally, though less common, the problem may occur when the system is in an idle state or recently resumed from sleep mode.


A Norton 2014 (version 21.x) anti-virus product is installed on the system. This includes:

  • Norton™ AntiVirus (NAV)
  • Norton™ Internet Security (NIS)
  • Norton 360™

It appears either the SRTSP64.SYS driver (dated February 2014) or, possibly, the EX64.SYS driver is causing a deadlock affecting file IO.


There are several options available to avoid the problem:

  • Enable using VSS instead of PHYLock in Image for Windows. Note that the deadlock may still occur when using VSS, but is normally much less frequent.

  • Create the backup outside of Windows. This can be accomplished by booting to Image for Linux, Image for DOS, TBWinRE, or TBWinPE.

  • Use an alternate anti-virus program (e.g. Kaspersky, Bitdefender, etc.).

  • Revert to the previous version of the Norton program until the problem is fixed. For example, if using NIS 2014, uninstall NIS 2014 (ver. 21.x), run the Norton Removal Tool, install NIS 2013 (ver. 20.x). Disable the "Automatic Download of New Version" option to prevent the newer version being automatically reinstalled (signature and protection updates will still be downloaded and installed).

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