Windows NTBackup program won't do scheduled backups

One would think that if backup software allows you to schedule a backup, that it would actually work.  Not so in the wonderful world of Microsoft!   I had a Travan tape backup drive with which I wanted to make scheduled daily backups.   However, when the backup was scheduled to occur, nothing happened.  Only in one small backup log did I see this:

The operation was not performed because the specified media cannot be found.

It turns out that scheduled jobs will never overwrite used tapes, at least without some tweaking.  After doing a lot of searching, I found the answer!  Here is what you need to do:

1. Use the backup wizard to create your job.  Make sure you click on the Advanced button before finishing, as this is where you set the scheduling.  Set everything as you would want.

2. Open up the task scheduler (Start, Settings, Control Panel, Scheduled Tasks).   Find your backup job, right-click, and select Properties.

3. Edit the RUN: line (which should already be highlighted).  There's a LOT here - you'll need to scroll back and forth to see everything.

There are some switches that you cannot have in there: /a, /g (with more stuff after it), /f, and /t.  If you see them, delete them.

You need a /p "(backup device type)" in there, where backup device type is equal to the media type name.  For example, for a Travan type tape, you would use: /p "travan"

Here's the secret part that makes it all work: add a "/um" at the end of the command.

4. Make sure you have at least Service Pack #2 installed.

That's it!

Here is a live example that you can use:

C:\WINNT\system32\NTBACKUP.EXE backup systemstate "@C:\Documents and Settings\BOB\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Windows NT\NTBackup\data\Daily Backup.bks" /n "Backup" /d "Daily Backup" /v:yes /r:no /rs:no /hc:on /m normal /j "Daily Backup" /l:s /p "Travan" /um

The string got wrapped, so remember that everything really is on one line.  Here's a breakdown of what this long string does:

Command: Description:
C:\WINNT\system32\NTBACKUP.EXE The program itself.
backup The operation to perform.
systemstate Backup the systemstate information too.
"@C:\Documents and Settings\BOB\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Windows NT\NTBackup\data\Daily Backup.bks" The path to the backup file that tells the program what you wanted to backup, and your options.  Note it is in quotes.
/n "Backup" Set the name for the tape to be "Backup".   Again, quotes required.
/d "Daily Backup" Description for the backup set.  Quotes required.
/v:yes Verify the tape after backup.
/r:no Restrict access to the owner/admin only.  (No, we don't want to do that.)
/rs:no Backup the removable storage database.  (No, we don't have an array of backup drives, so no need to do this.)
/hc:on Turn the hardware data compression on.
/m normal This sets the backup type to be a full backup.  Other options are: differential, incremental, or daily.  Normal is probably what you want for a full backup.
/j "Daily Backup" The name of the job used for the log file.  This must be in quotes.
/l:s This sets the log entry to be a Summary.  (You didn't really want to see each and every file you backed up in the log, did you?!)
/p "Travan" This sets the media pool to use the Travan device.
/um The missing link!  This tells the backup to find the first free backup device, format it, then use it.

Happy backup-ing!

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