HOWTO: Backup to tape

Summary: as NTBackup has been removed from Windows Server 2008 and replaced with Windows Server Backup, which does not support tape drives, you need to use a third-party application to backup to tape on Microsoft's new operating system. This tutorial explains how you can use BackupAssist's ZIP engine to backup to tape on Server 2008, as well as older operating systems like Server 2003.

The BackupAssist Zip Engine can be used to backup data to a wide variety of storage destinations, including standalone tape drives. All that is required is for your tape drive to be supported by Windows and have Windows Drivers. (Note: The BackupAssist Zip Engine also supports disk-based devices like external HDDs, optical discs, REV drives, RDX drives, local directories, network locations, FTP servers)

The following instructions are for backing up to a standalone tape drive device installed locally on the same machine running BackupAssist.

Note: BackupAssist does not support Travan tape drives.

  1. Download and install the BackupAssist free trial: http://www.backupassist.com/download.
  2. Launch BackupAssist, click File > New backup job and select Zip under ‘File backup’.

    Select Zip

  3. Select Tape as your back up destination and click Next.
  4. Select an appropriate schedule and click Next.
  5. Select the Device name of your tape drive from the available drop-down menu.

  6. If you have more than one tape drive installed and want to back up to multiple drives, you will need to create a separate backup job for each drive (step 1).
  7. If your tape drive is not listed in the drop-down menu click Detect; if the drive is still not detected make sure you have installed the default Windows drivers for your device and then try again.
  8. Check Allow eject of media after backup if you want BackupAssist to automatically eject tape media after each backup has been completed. This will make sure the data on the tape is not overwritten the next time a back up runs if you forget to insert the correct tape.
  9. Click Next and select the files and folders you would like backup to your tape drive.
  10. Click Next and then prepare your tape media for use with BackupAssist. Click the blue help icon in the top right-corner of the window if you need help with media preparation.
  11. Click Next once you have prepared your tape media and then name your backup job and click Finish.
  12. In addition to the standard BackupAssist job settings, you can also enable and configure settings specific to the Zip Engine, including: compression; encryption; compression / encryption threads; and NTFS security attributes. To access Zip Engine specific settings for a job click Edit from the top menu, select your Zip Engine backup job and click Zip options from the left menu:

  13. Compression: the Zip Engine gives you the option to compress each backup created on the backup destination. Enabling compression means you will save disk space on the backup destination, and as a result, store more backups on each tape.
    • Set compression ratio: drag the slider to “No compression” for faster backups but larger backup sizes, or “Smallest compression” for smaller backup sizes but longer backup completion times. We recommend “Fast compression” if compression is required, as it is much faster than “Smallest compression” and the difference in storage savings (i.e. the amount your data will be compressed) between "Smallest compression” and “Fast compression” is minimal.
  14. Encryption: you can choose to have your backup encrypted with a password. This is useful if you need to make sure that your data is secure. The Zip Engine applies 256-bit AES encryption to a password protected backup file. Once encrypted, a password is required to restore your data, so it is essential that you use a password that you can easily remember.
    • Check Encrypt backup file to enable encryption
    • Enter and confirm a password for encryption in the available fields.
  15. Compression / encryption threads: on a multi-core or multi-processor computer, BackupAssist can use multiple threads to compress and encrypt files, which significantly reduces the time required to perform a backup.  By default, BackupAssist will use one thread for each processor core on your machine minus one (e.g. 3 threads on a dual processor, dual core machine). You should only modify this setting if you experience performance issues when running a backup.
    • To alter the default BackupAssist setting for thread usage check Manually force thread count and enter the number of threads BackupAssist should use when compressing data.
  16. Preserving NTFS file attributes: BackupAssist will try and store NTFS security attributes and alternate data streams that are set in the original source files that are backed up to ZIP. Doing so means you are able to restore exact copies of your original data, including all security information. If the NTFS attributes cannot be kept a warning will appear in the backup report.
    • If you prefer not to be notified in your backup report whether NTFS attributes have been maintained, uncheck Suppress NTFS stream warnings.