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MS-Windows Troubleshooting

NT Backup: Tape Drive Error Detected


When running NT backup a dialog box is displayed containing the message:

Tape Drive Error Detected

A tape device has been detected, and the tape driver started. However, the tape device is not responding. Check that tape device power is on and cables are properly connected.

The following associated error might also be found in the NT System event log:

Event ID: 11
Source: 4mmdat
Description: The driver detected a controller error on \Device\Tape0

Possible Causes and Remedies:

  • If the error (Event ID: 11) is not found in the NT system event log then it may be simply that another application currently has control of the tape drive (possibly even another instance of NTBackup). This can be difficult to spot especially if the other application is not actively using the tape drive at the time. Use task manager to identify if any other applications are running that might have taken control of the tape drive. This can be difficult because database software (for example) may take control of the tape drive (for backups) but not show a separate or obvious process in task manager. Either wait for the other application to finish, close it or perhaps reboot the server (to be sure that any locking applications are closed down).
  • Tape device switched off. This is only likely if the tape drive is external. Check that it is powered on and that all the cables are connected.
  • Driver or firmware problem. Try shutting down (and powering off) the workstation. Then restart. I have observed this problem on systems that have been left running for long periods of time. Cycling the power often seems to cure the problem, which implies that it may be a driver, NT or firmware problem.
  • Loose cable. As a last resort check the cables to ensure that none have worked loose.

These notes have been tested with Windows NT4.

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