Error message when you try to perform a system backup operation on a Windows Vista-based computer: “Catastrophic failure (0x8000FFFF)”
On a computer that is running Windows Vista or Windows Vista with Service Pack 1, you try to perform a system backup operation. However, the backup process fails immediately after it starts, and you receive the following error message:
Catastrophic failure (0x8000FFFF)
The backup process fails when the shadow copy creation is in progress. If you change the backup configuration, the same issue occurs.
For more information on this issue, including potential causes, workarounds, and resolutions, see: Microsoft KB Article KB973558.