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Best Practice Cleaning Tape Drive Frequency

Occasional Contributor

Best Practice Cleaning Tape Drive Frequency

We've had an HP StorageWorks MSL4048 Tape Library for a few months and use this on Win2k3 SP2 server with Networker 7.4.4.

Within Networker the previous person in my office working with backups set cleaning for every 6 months. But I've noticed since I took this over that I've been running into strange media issues periodically all of which point to try cleaning the tape drives as part of the troubleshooting steps.

I was wondering if I should up the cleaning to weekly and thought I'd ask around and see how often is recommended?

Maybe someone has some advice or some links with info I could read up on as I'm fairly new to this hardware.

Thanks for your help
Respected Contributor

Re: Best Practice Cleaning Tape Drive Frequency

Once a week seems a bit excessive, and would suggest to me that either the environment is dirty, the cleaning tape is past its useful life, the tape drive head is starting to wear out, or the media being used is in poor condition (thus 'shedding' excessively).

How many uses does your cleaning cartridge have on it? They're good for up to 50 cleans. After that, they should be discarded.

What brand of media are you using, and how is it stored?

To diagnose what's actually going on with your drive, I recommend you download and run HP's free Library and Tape Tools from (see the link under "Value Add Software). From L&TT, you can run a set of diagnostics and generate a support ticket on the drive which will give us some hard information to work with.
Liberty breeds responsibility; Government breeds dependence