SharePoint 2013 : Cannot open backup device ‘[filename and path]’. Operating system error 3(The system cannot find the path specified.). BACKUP DATABASE is terminating abnormally.

Problem

Your SharePoint Server 2010 or 2013 system employs a SQL Server 2008 or 2012 farm database server. SharePoint 2010 SP1 may or may not have been installed. Both SharePoint 2010 and SQL Server are hosted on Windows Server 2008 platforms.  The MSSQLSERVER service is run under the NETWORK or other domain account.

You attempt to perform a backup from within SharePoint 2010 Central Administration to a network share.  After the backup operation completes, on the status page, you see one of the following errors:

Error: Object SharePoint_Config failed in event OnBackup. For more information, see the error log located in the backup directory.
SqlException: Cannot open backup device ‘[filename and path]’. Operating system error 3(The system cannot find the path specified.).
BACKUP DATABASE is terminating abnormally.

Error: Object [objectName] failed in event OnBackup. For more information, see the error log located in the backup directory. SqlException: Cannot open backup device Operating system error 5(Access is denied.) BACKUP DATABASE is terminating abnormally.

Solution

The problem most likely involves a permissions issue and is trivial to resolve.

The account running the MSSQLSERVER service is the one that actually processes the backup.  The destination folder for the backup must be configured to specifically allow this account access.  Setting access to Everyone is insufficient.  The MSSQLSERVER service account must specifically be granted Full Control access to both the physical folder and its shared representation.  If you have configured your MSSQLSERVER service to run under the NETWORK or other domain account, simply assign Full Control permissions specifically to these accounts.

NOTE: grant permissions to the NETWORK account, not the NETWORK SERVICE account, if this is the account MSSQLSERVER is running under.  Best practice however is to configure the SQL Server and SQL Server Agent services to run under a dedicated domain account (e.g., spSQL).

If you have configured your MSSQLSERVER service to run under the System account, which is local, you will need to change the account to a domain account in order to resolve this issue.

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