Advanced Intelligent Tape and utility clash

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AIT (Advanced Intelligent Tape) is a popular choice for backing up Windows systems because of its combination of capacity, speed and reasonable price (AIT drives that connect via a USB generally run between $800 and $1,500.)

However, AIT doesn't always work with Windows backup utility, Ntbackup.exe.

If you attempt to back up with an AIT tape drive connected via a USB port, the backup may fail with the message:
Error: An inconsistency was encountered on the requested media.

According to Microsoft, this happens if the USB tape drive uses the USB storage driver (Usbstor.sys); an I/O problem can cause the backup or restore operation to fail.

The problem applies to most current Microsoft operating systems, including Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2000. (For a complete list of affected systems, see the Microsoft Knowledgebase article, http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;817765.)

XP users can fix the problem by installing the latest XP service pack. For the other systems, Microsoft has a hotfix available. As always, Microsoft does not recommend installing the hotfix unless you are suffering from the problem.

For Windows 2000 the hotfix requires that you have Service Pack 3 installed. There are no prerequisites for Windows Server 2003, and XP users who want to use the hotfix rather than the latest service pack need to have Service Pack 1a installed.


Rick Cook has been writing about mass storage since the days when the term meant an 80 K floppy disk. The computers he learned on used ferrite cores and magnetic drums. For the last 20 years he has been a freelance writer specializing in storage and other computer issues.

This was first published in April 2005

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