System Protection Job Error: failed to get an exclusive lock on the EFI system partition (ESP)

The error in the System Protection job is typically…

Windows Backup failed to get an exclusive lock on the EFI system partition… (ESP). This may happen if another application is using files on the ESP.  … Please retry the operation.
Access is denied.

This is due to the ESET Antivirus software locking access to key BackupAssist and Windows Backup components .

In order to allow BackupAssist to function correctly, the exclusions detailed in ESET’s own knowledge base article should be followed, but we have also copied them below for reference:

File/Folder Exclusion:

  • \Device\HarddiskVolume(%number%)\EFI\Microsoft\Boot\BCD
  • \Device\HarddiskVolume(%number%)\EFI\Microsoft\Boot\BCD.LOG
  • \Device\HarddiskVolume(%number%)\EFI\Microsoft\Boot\bootmgfw.efi
  • \\?\GLOBALROOT\Device\HarddiskVolume(%number%)\EFI\Microsoft\Boot\BCD
  • \\?\GLOBALROOT\Device\HarddiskVolume(%number%)\EFI\Microsoft\Boot\BCD.LOG
  • \\?\GLOBALROOT\Device\HarddiskVolume(%number%)\EFI\Microsoft\Boot\bootmgfw.efi
  • %WINDIR%\system32\winload.efi

Process Exclusion:

  • %WINDIR%\System32\wbengine.exe
  • %WINDIR%\System32\wbadmin.exe
  • %WINDIR%\System32\vssvc.exe

    In the above exclusion paths, the volume can vary. The correct volume can be found in the registry at:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\hivelist
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