How to remove read only status from Dell tape

Posted on 2011-10-29
Last Modified: 2012-05-12
I have an external Dell PowerVault 110t connected to a Dell PowerEdge 700 server running Windows Server 2003.  I’m using Windows backup to backup files and managing the tapes through Removable Storage Manager (RSM).  The tape drive was previously connected to another Windows 2003 server and backing things up just fine but when I moved it to this other server, tapes are seen as Unknown (Read Only) and despite all my efforts, it won’t shake the read-only status.  

I’ve loaded the driver from Dell and the only light on the drive is Power.  There are no other SCSI devices on this system and I can eject/inject tapes from RSM so I know the drive and server are communicating.  There is nothing in the event log indicating a problem.  The properties of the drive show Enabled and tape is dismountable but the icon reflects a CD symbol.  The system and RSM see the drive as a Quantum LTO1 Tape Drive.  I’ve powered on/off the drive and rebooted the system after the new driver was installed.  I’ve tried different tapes and they’re not read-only.  I’ve even cleaned the drive with a tape made for that purpose.  And nothing I’ve see through Google has led me to any fix.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can overcome this?
Question by:ejefferson213
    LVL 7

    Expert Comment

    In tape backup solutions I am familiar with including Microsoft Data Protection manager which I highly recommend - especially when you dont want to spend too much time administering backup solutions, you’d have to re-catalog a tape made on a different system on a new system. Maybe RSM offers this possibility as well.

    Author Comment

    BTW, I downloaded and ran the PowerVault 110T diagnostic utility and all tests passed
    LVL 20

    Expert Comment

    I suppose that part of the solution is knowing what your goal is.

    Do you want to 1) read the data off these tapes and either restore it or have it available for restore, or, 2) re-use these tapes, ignoring whatever data may be on the tape?

    If 2), see if Skarai's solution of cataloging (or importing) the tapes works.  Then you should be able to format them.   If that doesn't work, see if Dell has diagnostics that will allow you to format the tape... I know HP does for their tape drives; I'd expect Dell should, too.   If you can't find a Dell utility, try HP's Library and Tape Tools -- a free download from .

    Author Comment

    I don't need to reuse any tapes; I'm simply trying to do a backup to any tape but I can't get the system to recognize the tape as a read/write device.   I'm assuming that MS Data Protection Mgr is a cost item which we cannot afford at this time.
    LVL 20

    Assisted Solution

    1) You say that the system and RSM see the tape drive as an LTO-1 drive.   What version of LTO do you believe the drive is?
    2) Specifically, what tapes are you trying to use in the drive, both brand and listed capacity?
    3) When you say you're not trying to reuse tapes -- am I correct that you are using only new, not-previously-used tapes, and getting the read-only error?
    4) Assuming that it's a supported drive/tape combo, the Dell tape utilities ought to be able to perform a force format.   May also be able to identify driver or other issues.

    Author Comment

    To answer your questions:
    1). the diagnostic utility from Dell reports it as a Dell PV-110T-LTO1
    2). I've used different, used, tapes: IBM and Dell both stating 100GB/200GB  Ultrium1
    3).  these are used tapes; I've attempted different ones
    4). the Dell utility has an electronics, read/write and compression test which all run successfully.  There's no "force format" but the read/write test functions fine.

    I ran into this problem once before when I installed a tape backup device on the SCSI chain and it only indicated read only drives until I rebooted the system and then all was well.  I've rebooted this several times to no avail.  Am I faced with a tape device that's unsupported on that SCSI card? (Adaptec SCSI Card 39160 - Ultra160 SCSI)

    Thanks for helping and I'm willing to try just about anything.
    LVL 7

    Accepted Solution

    Most likely the innerts of your tape drive are similar to this
    Dell PowerVault 110T LTO-1
    Drive ID : HP Ultrium 1-SCSI
    see also
    I dont know how far you've ventured down the path of firnware, bios and driver updates already - given that this is older hardware it's not that easy any longer - often I have seen tape problems solved by just doing due diligence on mentioned fw, bios and driver updates.
    From the Dell guide here the LTO1 is Ultra 2 SCSI LVD your Adaptec SCSI 39160 should be able to handle this - you can certainly lower the data rate in its BIOS during boot up to match the tape drive - that alone may do the trick.
    (LVD provides SCSI bus burst data rates of 80 Mbytes/sec)

    The adaptec card (see here )shouid be running 30 May 2001 Flash BIOS v3.10.0 This is BIOS version 3.10.0 for the Adaptec SCSI Card 39160 should be running this software on Windows 2003 - 23 Jun 2005 Ultra160 Family Manager Set 4.0 SP5 S4 for Windows Ultra160 Family Manager Set 4.0 SP5 S4 for Windows 2000, XP and Server 2003 for the 29160 and 39160 series cards.

    Maybe this will help.

    Author Closing Comment

    Based on skarai's statements, I'm convinced that this is a firmware issue so now it's on me to update my system.  My tape backup solution has changed so I'll be migrating to another unit anyway thus I'm closing this system.  If I need to use this older backup system, I'll look to update the firmware.

    Thank you!

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