Backup Exec 12.5 External USB Drive Offline

Offering points or a great big kiss to any that can actually figure this problem out.  'Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.' (Bonus points for recognizing the quote).

I have recently inherited a network with 5 servers running Windows 2003 SBS.  Each of these servers has a 1TB external USB drive which was intended to be used for backups.  I have recently installed Backup Exec  12.5 on one of the servers which I made the media server.  I then pushed the agent installs out to the other servers.  I formatted the 5 external HD with NTFS and connected the devices as Backup-to-Disk Folders.  Of the 5 servers, 4 worked normally this way with backups set for Differential during the weekdays and Full on the weekend.  The last server gets a recurring error where it will begin the backup normally, but after 1.7 GB has been backed up the error code E00084F4 is given. It states that the device is offline and the backup fails.  After this point, the device will show as offline until actions are taken to re-create the device.  Just pausing and unpausing the processes or changing it to online will always show failure as soon as the process is run again.  If I create a new folder and add a new device, it will run again and crash exactly the same after 1.7 GB are backed up.

So far, I have tried reformatting the external drive and have even mapped it to a folder on an existing hard drive instead of assigning a drive letter.  When the device is setup initially, running test and inventory completes successfully, but any full scan will crash after 1.7 GB.  As I have said though, this exact setup was done on 4 other servers with success.  I have checked through multiple sites searching for a solution, but while many others seem to have similar problems with USB drives with Backup Exec, no correct solution seems to have been found.  

Below I have listed my backup settings just in case something in this could be the cause.




Selection list name: Server Backup 0001
Selection list description:    

Selections/Resource Order

M:\Documents and Settings\*.* /SUBDIR
M:\Drivers\*.* /SUBDIR
M:\epson\*.* /SUBDIR
M:\found.000\*.* /SUBDIR
M:\found.001\*.* /SUBDIR
M:\ICA-clnt\*.* /SUBDIR
M:\Inetpub\*.* /SUBDIR
M:\Program Files\*.* /SUBDIR
M:\pvswarch\*.* /SUBDIR
M:\Sharepoint Services\*.* /SUBDIR
M:\spoolerlogs\*.* /SUBDIR
M:\System Volume Information\*.* /SUBDIR
M:\wmpub\*.* /SUBDIR
N:\Serverbackups\*.* /SUBDIR
N:\LJ1300\*.* /SUBDIR
N:\System Volume Information\*.* /SUBDIR
N:\Server Full Backup111308.bkf
N:\pagefile.sys /EXCLUDE
Q:\GArchive\*.* /SUBDIR
Q:\System Volume Information\*.* /SUBDIR
Utility Partition\*.* /SUBDIR
Shadow Copy Components\*.* /SUBDIR
System State\*.* /SUBDIR

Resource Credentials

Resources Resource Credentials System Logon Account
Utility Partition  
Shadow Copy Components  
System State  

Priority and Availability

Limit availability of this selection list for backup to the following daily time window: No

Job priority:  Medium

Enable automatic cancellation for this selection list: No

Selection List Notification

Include job log with a notification to an e-mail or printer recipient: No

Backup template: Server Daily Backup



Device and Media

Device: Server Backup-to-Disk Current1
Media set: Server Daily Media Set
Family name: Media created 7/5/2009 4:45:59 PM
When this job begins:  Append to media, overwrite if no appendable media is available

Eject media after job completes: No
Write checksums to media: Yes
Retension media before backup: No
Password protect media: No
Use Write once, read many (WORM) media: No

Maximum number of devices to use for resources that support multiple data streams:  1
Minimum number of devices, terminate job if fewer devices are available:  1




Template name: Server Daily Backup
Backup set description:  
Backup method for files: Differential - Back up changed files since last full - Using archive bit (does not reset archive bit)
Compression type: Hardware [if available, otherwise none]

Verify after backup completes: Yes


Set Remote Agent priority: Normal Priority
Open file backup when Advanced Open File Option is not used:  With a lock

Enable single instance backup for NTFS volumes: No
Back up files and directories by following junction points: Yes
Back up data in Remote Storage: No

Advanced Open File

Use Advanced Open File Option: Yes

Open file configuration: Automatically select open file technology

Process logical volumes for backup one at a time: Yes

Advanced Disk-based Backup

Use offhost backup to move backup processing from remote computer to media server: No

Network and Security

Network interface:  Use any available network interface
Protocol:  Use any available protocol

Allow use of any available network interface, subnet, or protocol for remote agents not bound to the above network interface, subnet, or protocol: No

Encryption Type:  None
Encryption key:  None

Run backup immediately when Symantec ThreatCon reaches: No
Include job log with a notification to an e-mail or prnter recipient: No

Thanks for the help and let me know if more information is needed.
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Let me guess...these servers aren't identical machines?  ...and the one with the problem doesn't have USB 2.0?

If it does have 2.0 try CHDSK /R on the external and if that doesn't show any problems try it in another USB port.
FeraghAuthor Commented:
You passed the quote test, so I will need to try your suggestions come tomorrow.  You are right that all of the servers are different as well.  While they are all Dell Poweredge servers, they are a few different models.  I will check their settings tomorrow and see which of your suggestions apply.  I will reply with what I find.  

Thanks for the help.
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Reason I suspect USB is that I had a similar problem with Backup Exec System Recovery -- different product but backups kept failing with misleading errors and it turned out the drive was too slow on USB < 2.0.  Everything worked once I switched the drive to another machine that had USB 2.
FeraghAuthor Commented:
Never considered that the USB might be below 2.0, but the solution sounds logical for what has been happening.  
TristanIT ManagerCommented:
Are your installations of Backup Exec fully patched?
FeraghAuthor Commented:
Yes, Backup Exec 12.5 was freshly installed on all machines and patched to current.
TristanIT ManagerCommented:
Have you tried a different external hard disk on that server?
Which model of Poweredge is it?
FeraghAuthor Commented:
I checked out the USB drivers and they are 2.0.  I also tried a usb speed test and it performed normally.  The external hard drive is an iomega prestige 1TB.  The server is a Poweredge SC1420 and is of course the oldest of the 5 servers.  I do have a seperate My Books ext HD that I will probably try tomorrow to see if anything changes.  I have also been looking into the USB and system drivers as well.  There are a couple updates out there, but I don't see any that will help with the issue.  

For some reason, it is acting like the backup is losing connection with the server or at the very least, the ext HD.  I just can't understand for the life of me what would cause it to die around 1.8GB in the backup.
Try another USB or even the same backup but with an internal disk...divide and conquer! :)
TristanIT ManagerCommented:
You would be surprised about what can affect a seemingly unrelated piece of functionality.

If there are any updates for the hardware; drivers, firmware and/or BIOS updates then definitely apply them.
Could also be a crappy USB cable or even just the wrong USB port.
TristanIT ManagerCommented:
Buttercup: We'll never survive.
Westley: Nonsense. You're only saying that because no one ever has.
You mean you wish to surrender to me?  Very well, I accept.

(But we digress...)
FeraghAuthor Commented:
Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Well, more tries down the drain so far.  It does not seem to be the USB cable or the External Drive.  The thing I keep coming back to is that I have seen almost this identical problem in multiple forums, but it seems to fade into some kind of gray area.  I am actually thinking about reworking the setup and combining the external usb hard drives onto a single data server as stand alone drives and then pooling them for all the backups.  My main concern would be the speed.  Have any of you had any luck with this type of setup?

A couple of the servers wouldn't be significant, but in all the data will range about 700-900GB on a full backup scheduled for the weekend and roughly 160GB for a daily differential backup (still deciding between differential and incremental).  I think it should work correctly, but will be the first time I have tried.  I also hate to leave the original case unsolved, but I also hate to spend days spinning my wheels when there are so many other new and exciting things to crash.

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Actually I have one site (and one more in progress) where I am using a networked external USB to back up desktops with image backups.  With gigabit it's not bad but these are small sites...haven't tried more than 5 or so desktops backing up at once but so far so good.
And that's where I ran into the problem with USB drive failing until I put it in a USB 2.0 port. :)
FeraghAuthor Commented:
Hey all.  Sorry for the delay in following up to these posts.  I have successfully moved all of the external hard drives to the main data server and the updates are actually running extremely smoothly.  They do get a little lengthy for the full backups, but can easily be completed over a weekend.  I know this doesn't resolve the original issue, but at least it does offer an alternative.

And now for a question in forum etiquette.  You have both been helpful in resolving these issues, but I since the solution was more of a work-a-round, I didnt think it should be posted as resolved.  What is the decorum for rewarding points for assisting in the solution and such, and should this be posted to the database?  Thanks for the help for a new user.
So you checked the USB cable and tried another port?
TristanIT ManagerCommented:
If you have achieved a resolution to the original issue then you should accept your own solution so that future searches find the correct fix. You can always split the points if you feel it to be appropriate.
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