Problem with SQL server VSS writer

Hi all
I have got a problem with a friends laptop, it powers up but it restarts before it finishes fully loading up XP Pro. Now after a couple of hours of checking and tinkering I have found that if I disable "SQL server VSS writer" in the services section of msconfig it will fully boot up and appears to work fine.
So the query is what is "SQL server VSS writer" used for and is it essential, if it is necessary is there any way to find out why this is causing the pc to restart

Thanks
Mick

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