Tips to fix these common tape drive issues on windows

Below are some of the steps which you can use to fix the tape drive related errors on Windows server. 

Are the Drives / Paths online?
At the TSM Server, check that the drives and paths are online with these commands
q drive

q path

If any drives or paths are not online, use these commands to update them, substituting your own server, library and drive names.
update drive lib-name drive-name online=yes

update path server-name drive-name srct=server destt=drive libr=lib-name online=yes

Is Removable Storage manager (RSM) enabled ?
TSM does not co-exist very well with Windows RSM, So check that the service is not started and is disabled. If it is started, stop it and disable it unless you plan to use it.

Also Read: Steps to fix read write errors on tape - video tutorial

External Tape Problems ?
It's possible that there is an external problem with the library or with drives. A good place to start is to check that Windows Device Manager lists the library (Medium Changer) and/or Tape Drives. Right click on 'My computer' and select 'Manage' then 'Device Manager'. If Device Manager indicates a problem then TSM will have problems.

If you cannot see any devices in device manager, then right click on the server name in the right side display and select 'Scan for Hardware Changes'. If this does not discover the devices, you have a problem with your cabling or SAN ports.

Incorrect Device Drivers ?
If you can see the devices but they are in an incorrect state, it could be that the incorrect device driver is loaded. Check the device driver version through Windows Device Manager by right-clicking on the device, select 'Properties', then 'Device Driver' tab.

You will need to check up-to-date TSM and product information to see which is the correct device driver, but generally, IBM tape devices use IBMTape except that 3494 libraries use ibmatl. Non-IBM tape drives and libraries typically use the tsmscsi device driver that comes packaged with TSM Server and Storage Agent. A non-IBM library that uses IBM tape drives will typically use tsmscsi for the library and IBMtape for the drives.

Make sure TSM is DOWN before you do anything with the drivers, even on the Lanfree clients (put the Storage Agent on the Lanfree client in Disabled or Manual mode until all drivers are in, return the Storage Agent to Auto when all is well).

To install the IBMtape driver, run install-exclusive.exe. 
To install the tsmscsi, from Device Manager, right-click on the device, select Update Driver -> Install from a list or specific location (Advanced) -> Don't search. I will select the driver to install -> Select the IBM Tivoli Storage Manager device driver -> Continue Anyway.

Are Windows device names correct ?
Windows device names can change after a reboot, use tsmdlst to check them. tsmdlst runs quicker if the TSM service is down, so it's often a good idea to run it as a routine before you start the service.

Open up a DOS command line navigate to C:\Program Files\tivoli\tsm\console, and run tsmdlst. You should see output something like the following. The example below shows a single library and drive. 

C:\Program Files\Tivoli\TSM\console>tsmdlst

mt0.0.0.2    0    0    0    2    1110018309            500308C1424E8001  LTO
    IBM     ULT3580-TD2     73V1
lb0.1.0.2    0    1    0    2    0000013201681000      500308C1424E8001  LIBRARY

    IBM     ULT3583-TL      6.10

Use the query path command to check if paths are using the wrong devices, and if so then correct them with the update path command 

To query library paths:
   q path destt=libr f=d 

 To query tape paths for one server:
   q path server-name f=d

To update a library path: 
   update path server-name lib-name srct=server destt=libr 
      device=<lb#.#.#.#> online=yes

To update a tape path: 
   update path server-name drive-name srct=server destt=drive libr=lib-name 

      device=<mt#.#.#.#> online=yes

After a Windows server reboot, many people as a matter of routine will run the following process, just to make sure no problems appear. They have most of these action scripted, so it's a simple case of running the script for each step.
  • Run tsmdlst
  • Start TSM server with client sessions disabled
  • delete tape and library paths
  • delete tape drives
  • delete tape library
  • generate path definitions from tsmdlst output (various ways to do this with scripts or spreadsheets
  • define tape library
  • define library path
  • define tape drives
  • define tape paths
  • checkin scratch tapes
  • checkin private tapes
  • enable client sessions

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