Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I am trying to get NTBackup under Windows Server 2003 to perform a backup to tape. But when I start the job I always get the error "There is no free media with the selected type." As a first troubleshooting step I want to erase the tape I'm using, to start over. Is this possible with NTBackup?

share|improve this question
up vote 2 down vote accepted

You should be able to erase a tape by using the Removable Storage console:

  • Open Computer Management (Right click My Computer > Manage)
  • Expand the Removable Storage and find the tape drive, right click on it for the option to Erase.

You could also consider running your NTBackup job in unmanaged mode with the /um switch - this turns off the media management and will simply overwrite whatever tape is in the drive when the job runs. More details here:

share|improve this answer
I tried this, but I'm getting the issue described in this Microsoft KB article: When I tried to apply the hotfix, it said we had a version of Windows that already contained that bugfix (a later update). Is there something else that could be going wrong? – Mr. Jefferson Mar 16 '11 at 15:09
Also, I managed to get a tape into the Free media pool, and ran the backup job with the /um switch, but Backup comes up and spends a couple seconds trying to mount the media and then goes away. The log file says "The requested media failed to mount. The operation was aborted." – Mr. Jefferson Mar 16 '11 at 16:17

The problem as described is usually quite simply fixed by running a Cleaning tape - all input to the device is via the tape heads sensing and this is usually skewed if the tape heads have particles on them (from the magnetic tapes shedding a few particles) - clean the heads - run the Cleaning tape at least twice and then run a manual backup.

share|improve this answer
It's usually good to have a cleaning schedule.. Once a week is a pretty good estimate. – Tom O'Connor Nov 15 '12 at 17:03

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.