Arcserve 6.6 E3801 - Invalid session header signature when trying to restore tape with multiple sessions

After backing up our data daily for years fat dumb and happy, we recently had a need to actually restore a few files. When looking at the log file the backup (with verify) runs with just a few explainable file access errors, reports "incomplete" but otherwise looks ok. When trying to restore from the restore wizard, if the file I want to restore lives on the first session, it will restore the file just fine. If the file is on any other session the E3801 error pops up reporting a session ID of 00000000 or dddddddd or similar bad data. Tried another drive, tapes are new, even tried the full erase and reformat. Same results.
Any Ideas?
jrickerchaAsked:
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Michael PfisterCommented:
Any event in the Windows Event viewer logged when this happens?
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Michael PfisterCommented:
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jrickerchaAuthor Commented:
There is nothing in the event log that is related to this process or hardware. I did look at the previous solution you referenced. With the symptoms so similar I was sure that was going to be it. The merge process had no effect. When reviewing the backup logs one of the steps it successfully completes is to merge each of sessions created for that backup job. The odd part about all this is that the backup process, tape scans, merge all seem to complete successfully. It is only when a restore is attempted that the session header error (e3801) is encountered. And if the file I am attempting to restore is included in the first session, it will work.
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Michael PfisterCommented:
I have no real idea, but you could try:

1) Restore by Backup Media:under Restore, Filter, specify the file you need to restore and on the "Source" tab, start from Session 2, and attempt to restore the file.  If the file is not in this session, change the session number to 3, and so on.

2) Check if there is a current firmware available for your drive. Or you may try to downgrade to a previous version of the firmware.

3) Use a different Backup software, i.e. get BackupExec trial version and try to restore with it.

Last resort: never used myself but heard this should be a good tool to recover your data: http://www.emaglink.com/MMPC.htm
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dovidmichelCommented:
Try a restore by Backup Media of session 2. This is not going to use the database so either restore the whole session or use a filter to restore specific data. But I'd say set the job up to restore the whole session even if you don't have room for it. Just let the job start and see if it restores data, and just to be sure check the target volume and verify the files. Then if it is you can cancel the job.

If this restore works then the problem points to the database. The database provides a specific point on tape for the drive to go to and then do the read for the restore. Database corruption can cause the drive to position to the wrong location and so the data being read is not the correct data and so the result is the invalid session.

If restore by media also fails this might be due to a firmware problem with the tape drive.
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jrickerchaAuthor Commented:
Sorry for the delay in responding. I have tried the suggestions above and it appears that the problem is that any session id after the first one is not being recognized. If I try to restore from media any data from session 1 it will work perfectly. If I attempt to restore data from any other session the status screen shows "connecting to media"  then "location session" at which point it runs through to the end of the tape and fails. The logs associated with these backups indicate a successful job with only a few places where a particular file or directory can't be accessed. Each session section shows various amounts of data transfered. A real brain bender.
I did not try to go after the drive firmware, not quite sure how to do that. I appreciate any help you can provide.
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Michael PfisterCommented:
To upgrade the firmware you need to go to the manufacturers web site and look for firmware updates for your specific drive model. In most cases the manufacturer also provides a utility to flash the firmware to the drive.
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dovidmichelCommented:
I have seen the problem as you describe caused by drive firmware. As for updating the firmware it differs from drive to drive and since the drive type details were omitted specific recommendation can not be given. But in general the new drives today can be updated via a utility downloaded from the manufacture web site.
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jrickerchaAuthor Commented:
Sorry for the delay in getting back to this, busy times. I tried to do a firmware upgrade on the tape drive, it's an HP C5686A through the tape drive management tool that HP provides and I hit some roadblocks that would not allow me to proceed with the process. I've decided to look at some other back-up solutions that would allow me to do D2D. Well be backing up data from a mix of servers. some NT4, Windows Server 2003,  an Exchange server 2007, and assorted shares on XP workstations. If anyone has any recommendations on a reasonably priced package that I could use I would welcome your input. Backing up about 50 GB. I have been playing around with Genie-soft backup pro and it seems to work pretty well. Need to go with their server edition to be able to get the exchange server files it looks like.
Thanks!
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