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NTBACKUP giving "specified media cannot be found" error message and failing on DAT tape drive

Posted on 2007-03-20
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Last Modified: 2013-11-14
Hello,

I have a client running Windows Server 2003.  I'm using NTBACKUP.EXE to do a backup to an external USB drive and a DAT tape drive.   The USB backup string looks like this (not I've added a return after each forward slash to aid in my reading of the message):

C:\WINDOWS\system32\ntbackup.exe backup "@C:\Documents and Settings\Administrator\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Windows NT\NTBackup\data\Thursday.bks"
/n "Thursday Full Backup.bkf created 10/30/2006 at 12:40 PM"
/d "Set created 10/30/2006 at 12:40 PM"
/n "Thursday Full Backup.bkf created 10/30/2006 at 12:40 PM"
/v:yes
/r:no
/rs:no
/hc:off
/m normal
/j "Thursday to USB Drive"
/l:s
/f "E:\Thursday Full Backup.bkf"

The above backup works fine.  No problems.  The Friday backup that goes to tape looks like this:
C:\WINDOWS\system32\ntbackup.exe backup "@C:\Documents and Settings\Administrator\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Windows NT\NTBackup\data\Friday Full Backup Job.bks"
/n "Friday Full Backup Tape"
/d "Set created 10/30/2006 at 2:59 PM"
/n "Friday Full Backup Tape"
/v:yes
/r:no
/rs:no
/hc:on
/m normal
/j "Friday Full Backup 2006"
/l:f
/g "ab3bfcd0-6cd8-475e-8520-fbecfb0247ed"

I'm consentantly getting failure messages that, "Backup Status: The operation was not performed because the specified media cannot be found.  If I Start NTBACKUP and call up the job manually, it works fine.  If I goto scheduled tasks and select run, it fails with the listed message.  To me, it looks as if it has something to do with the tape handling, but I'm not sure how to fix it.  I'm pretty sure the tape has been formatted, but probably belongs to another set. Is there any way to make NTBACKUP overwrite the tape no matter what when it does a backup?

Thanks,

Jeffery Smith

Any ideas on how to make this NTBACKUP job:

- Automatically overwrite any tape put into the drive
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Question by:Jeffesmi
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4 Comments
 
LVL 11

Accepted Solution

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Zenith63 earned 300 total points
ID: 18760449
See what others have to say, but I've spent a LOT of time trying to get NTBackup to work reliably to tapes and never succeeded.  It seems to work very well to a local disk but once you start backing up to tape it just seems to fall down.  As you say the problem tends to be that it won't write onto a tape for various reasons, but when you do a manual backup this is obviously over-ridden.

The only thing I can suggest is to look into the /um switch.  It's described as "Find the first available media, format it, and use for the current backup.  Use with the /p switch to scan for available media pools.  This command is only for standalone tape devices (not tape loaders.).  The /UM switch must be at the end of the command line." at http://www.ss64.com/nt/ntbackup.html.  It should do exactly what we want, but sadly I still had regular failures even using /um.

In the end I've always just given in and used Veritas BackupExec as it works almost flawlessly to tape drives.  Though recently we've started doing Offsite Backup, which is in effect a combination of the ease of backing up to a local disk (ie. no tapes) with the benefit of being taken off-site like you can do with tapes.  When you can offer this so cheaply to customers very few say "Nah, give me the more expensive tapes with the hardship of changing tapes every day" :).
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Author Comment

by:Jeffesmi
ID: 18838379
Zenith63,
     No one else seems to have any input.  I haven't tried you suggestion yet, but I will.  Regaurdless, the points are your unless someone else posts.  I guess not many people try to use the NTBACKUP program.  Do you know of any free or very low cost alternatives that are decent for single server backup?  It's a small business and they don't need anything fancy.

Best Wishes,

Jeffery Smith
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LVL 2

Author Comment

by:Jeffesmi
ID: 18904909
Sorry Zenith,

I still haven't tried it.  I moved the points from 250 to 300 for your patience.  I'll give it a shot as soon as I can with the /UM switch and post an update if I can.

Thanks,

Jeffery Smith
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LVL 11

Expert Comment

by:Zenith63
ID: 18905354
Sorry for not replying to your earlier post, I must have missed the email notification!

Yeah there aren't too many people using ntbackup these days to backup to tape for the exact reason you've come across.  There are also a few other features that ntbackup is missing that are more and more and more important these days, such as notification of backup failures (it can be done, but not with a click of a button!).  It works flawlessly to external storage etc., just not great for tapes!

To be honest the only backup software I ever use is Symantec BackupExec, it will work perfectly with tapes etc.
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