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Tape Drive not reconized in Windows Explorer

Posted on 2008-10-03
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Last Modified: 2013-12-01
I installed a new internal Sony Tape Drive on a new PC using XP pro connected via SATA Cable. The drive is not displayed in Windows Explorer or Retrospect but shows up in Device Manager as working properly.
I have bought an USB-SATA adaptor with the same result.
I have to mention that in order to install XP on the Intel G33BUC Motherboard I had to change in BIOS the Drive from SATA to IDE, otherwise I received the blue screen with a Harddrive error. Unfortunately the PC is at my Customer Office and I won't be able to access it over the weekend.
Any recommendations are welcomed as I need to get this backup working.
Thank you
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Question by:Hesuma
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Lee W, MVP earned 250 total points
ID: 22631733
Tape drives are not random access devices and will not appear in device manager.  Only software that knows to look for tape devices (such as NTBackup) will see the tape drive as a usable device.
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by:Hesuma
ID: 22631742
The Tape drive appears in Device Manager as working properly.
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 22631761
It probably is.  But Explorer won't see it - Explorer is not aware of tape backup devices.  As I said, Tape aware backup software is required by NTBackup.
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Author Comment

by:Hesuma
ID: 22631821
So, what do I have to do to get it recognized?
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Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 22631830
Nothing - Explorer WILL NOT RECOGNIZE TAPE DRIVES.  TAPE DRIVES ARE NOT RANDOM ACCESS DEVICES AND WILL NOT BE SEEN AS DRIVES IN THE SAME SENSE AS A HARD DRIVE, CD/DVD DRIVE, OR SIMILAR DRIVE.

If you want to use the tape backup, then you have to use a TAPE AWARE SOFTWARE PROGRAM.  ONE SUCH PROGRAM IS NTBACKUP.  
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Author Comment

by:Hesuma
ID: 22631979
I am using Retrospect and on the old PC worked well. Has it something to do with the Motherboard or that I had to change from SATA to IDE in the BIOS setup?
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Assisted Solution

by:TapeDude
TapeDude earned 250 total points
ID: 22632479
leew - Tapes drives will and should be seen in Device Manager, either under "Tape Drives" (if the driver has loaded) or under "Other Devices" if the driver hasn't loaded. They won't appear in Disk Manager or, as you say, Explorer.

Hesuma - if your drive is appearing under "Tape Drives", then any Tape-capable backup application should see it. Have you tried running the ntbackup applet (Start->All Programs.>Accessories->System Tools->Backup) to see if it can see the drive? If so, then it suggests Retrospect won't work with that particular drive.

If the driver is being loaded and the tape drive is appearing under "Tape Drives" in Device Manager I don't think switching from SATA to IDE is an issue - all that stuff is working at a lower level than the backup application is aware of.
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Author Comment

by:Hesuma
ID: 22634126
leew & TapeDude- I am going to try if it works with Windows Backup, have to wait till Tuesday. Thanks for your help, very much appreciated. What commercial backup software should I suggest to my Customer if the windows one work, because I don't believe windows NT backup is much useful!
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Expert Comment

by:TapeDude
ID: 22635064
None of them are great, to be frank, but on balance BackupExec is probably the best choice. It uses MTF tape format so if there's ever any recovery issues (God forbid!) at least you're working with a published format.
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Author Comment

by:Hesuma
ID: 22639890
Ok, thanks for all your help. I am going back to Danks and see if they come up with something what, as my Customer doesn't want to spend more money, understandable.
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