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HP External Tape Drive Error

Benny9 asked
Every time we insert a backup tape into the drive, regardless if it's LTO 3 or LTO 4, the drive returns the "Tape Error" flashing light.  Here are some details to help you understand our problem:

Tape Drive Model: HP StorageWorks Ultrium 960
Connection: Bridged SCSI from external tape drive "1" (which is working completely fine)
Backup Management Software: Symantec Backup Exec

Here's when the problem started.  Prior to this, everything was working fine.

We have 2 external HP tape drives.  We normally only use LTO 4 tapes for External Tape Drive (ETD) 1 and LTO 3 tapes for ETD 2.  One morning before having my coffee, I inserted a LTO 4 tape into ETD 2, which produced the above mentioned error.  Here is what I have tried so far:

- reset the tape drive
- delete and re-added the tape drive from Symantec Backup Exec
- rebooted the server running Symantec Backup Exec

I do not know what else to try besides re-installing Symantec Backup Exec.  Any other suggestions?

Thanks in advance.
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We had a similar problem at one of our sites beforoe, I didnt fix the issue, but remember my system admin telling me about the error. He had to reinstall backup exec 12.5 to a different server and had to download and apply SP2 patch and a Hotfix (visit http://www.symantec.com/business/support/index?page=content&key=15047&channel=TECHNICAL_SOLUTION&basecat=PATCHES&sort=recent ). We then uninstalled the old backup exec and restarted. I think there was an issue on the LTO using Windows\HP drivers instead the Symantec drivers, but dont recollect which one was the correct one to use.

I have never seen that problem.  I would try putting in a Cleaning tape and see what happens.


mirk:  Thanks for the suggestion.  I was hoping I didn't have to re-install Symantec, but it seems there's no way around it.  It's just weird that it was working fine with the current drivers until I made the bonehead mistake of putting the wrong tape in the wrong drive.  Technically, both drives are compatible with both types of tape, which is strange to me.

Chakko:  I tried the cleaning tape overnight and still no joy.

I did find an HP utility called HP Library and Tape Tools.  It found that the firmware is obsolete.  Will update when I find out more.
As its a Ultrium 960 (or LTO-3) drive i am not surprised it doesnt like LTO-4 cartridges


Any other suggestions besides re-installing Symantec?  I don't have the luxury of installing the software and tape drives on another server.  I can uninstall and re-install on the same server, but I'm afraid I'll be back to square one.

mirk: Does you system admin still work for you?

before uninstalling I would try some more things.

Delete both tape drives from Windows Management, devices.
delete both the drive from symantec.  If you can determine the driver files for the LTO drives, I would delete (or rename) them also in the Windows area folder.
disconnect the cable of both drives
reboot the server (optional if you have downtime that you can do it)
connect the LTO4 drive directly and try to redetect it and reinstall drivers
chakko:  Thanks for your suggestions.  Unfortunately, none of them work.

UPDATE: HP tech support determined that the tape drive is no longer usable.  By inserting a newer tape cartridge that was not compatible, damaged the tape drive heads.

Thanks everyone for your help.


I've requested that this question be closed as follows:

Accepted answer: 0 points for Benny9's comment http:/Q_27479567.html#37328879

for the following reason:

I called HP tech support.
I pointed out that you were trying to use LTO4 carts in a LTO3 drive on the 6th, i am surprised it even let you put them in!

Folowing an objection, I am restarting the Auto Accept process.


CS Moderator

Any lto-4 should be able to read and write a lto-3 or 4. lto-3 drive can read write lto-3 & 2. And so on... We find cleaning cartridges are only allowing about a dozen passes then will not accept the any longer.
@lloakley - But the OP was trying to put LTO-4 carts into a LTO-3 drive

NB If you use a -3 cart in a -4 drive (or a -2 in a -3, or a -4 in a -5) you will not see an increase in capacity, but you will probably benefit from the faster tape speed (ie reduced backup time)