Ask Dr. Bob: Tape-Drive Backup Trouble

I have one Windows 2000 member server and three Windows NT servers, all with 4 millimeter (mm) DDS3 data tape drives. I set up a batch file to run a backup on the Win2K server. I want the backup to run early each morning, and I want to cycle the backup tapes once each week. But I'm having a terrible time. The backup is occasionally successful but usually fails. When the backup fails, the backup report contains the following error message: The operation was not performed because no unused media was available. I can't find a solution. Can you help me?

I reviewed the batch file you're using and it appears to be fine, so I don't think it's causing your problem. If other members of your team are successfully backing up the same Win2K server on a regular basis, you might want to compare your batch file with the files that work. Also make sure you have all the necessary rights to perform the backup.

A more likely culprit is the backup device you're using on the server. Clean the tape drive's heads four or five times and see whether that solves the problem. If not, move a device from one of your NT servers to the Win2K server and see whether the problem goes away when you use that device to run your backups. If you still get the failed backups and errors, try again with fresh media. Make sure the first available tape in the 4mm drive is formatted and ready to use.

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