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Ntbackup won't let me reuse backup tapes

I am trying to find a way to fully automate the Windows 2000 backup. The system is loaded with Windows 2000 Small Business Server; it has an internal IDE Travan tape drive. We do a full backup on Friday and differential backups Monday through Thursday. We are using the built-in Windows Backup program.

I'm looking for a way to not have any user interaction with the exception of exchanging the tapes. The problem that we are running into now is that after a tape has been used once and then put in the next week, the backup fails because Ntbackup can't find any free media. We reuse the daily differential tapes every week, but have two tapes for the full backups -- that way we always have a full backup on hand. The only workaround that I have found is to manually de-allocate, then prepare the tape. Any suggestions?

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You shouldn't have to remove the tape from the pool in order to reuse. I have a similar backup procedure, and when I use an existing tape for a normal or differential backup, Ntbackup asks me if I want to use the tape anyway. Maybe a description of how I do it will help:

  1. I do a full, normal backup using Ntbackup.

  2. On a used tape, I manually do a differential backup, replacing the contents of the entire tape. Ntbackup confirms that I want to erase the tape's contents.

  3. I schedule a job to do a differential backup each day, appending the contents to the existing tape.

  4. If I have to replace the tape, I repeat steps 2 and 3.

This was first published in October 2002

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