How can I check the contents of a backup tape on Windows Server 2003

Spirit asked:

I have a tape that was backed up long time ago, probably 5-6y, on a Windows Server 2003. Now I have a situation that I want to check up what was backed up on that tape back then. The backup wasn’t made by me, nor the server on which was backed up exists. I just installed new Win2k3 just for this assignment.

I don’t have much experience with Windows Server 2003 default backup program. From the given options I can see that you have the so called “backup catalog” there, and I guess that you must have the correct tape labeled to insert into the tray to restore files from. Since the tape wasn’t made on that server how can i check the tape and perhaps to catalog it? Why I don’t see any option like Scan a tape??

I know that this is funny but I don’t have much experience with tapes. My job as sysadmin started right on with Windows Server 2008 :). I guess some of you older admins know a way to do this, or perhaps I am missing some of the options of that old windows backup utility.

Thank you.

My answer:

Since you’ve installed a fresh copy of Server 2003, and are not restoring to the original system, the server does not have an on-disk catalog matching the contents of the tape, thus Backup cannot tell you what is on the tape.

I believe the option you are looking for is to catalog the tape.

If you have no idea what’s on the tape or whether it comprises a complete backup, you may want to go into the Options and uncheck the option “Use the catalogs on the media to speed up building restore catalogs on disk”. This will cause the tape to be re-read in its entirety.

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