Recently I’ve had a request to restore a certain backup from the old backup tapes. We’ve had a new Backup exec installation which didn’t have the catalogue/record of these tapes nor the actual tape drive to recover them – I knew it was going to be one in the world task. And the hell it was.

Locating tapes in the storage unit was a pure joy – no need to go to the gym after this. Buying some used tape drive and set this up to the was surprisingly easy.

So I had a working Backup exec – check – I had the backup tapes – check – and working backup drive – check check check. I’d expected only lollipops and unicorns from that point on, and I couldn’t be more wrong.

Cutting the long and frustrating story short – here are the steps needed to catalogue all tapes in one go.

Disable settings

You’d like to go to Backup Exec settings> Cataloging tab

Then untick both boxes: “Request all media in the sequence for catalog operations” and “Use storage-based catalogs“

Making this two changes will allow you to catalogue “some” of the backup tapes but I’ve found a weird glitch here – say you have a set of 4 backup tapes. Then obviously you will “Inventory & Catalog” the first tape, the second and so on…

The problem with this take is that each subsequent tape will remove catalogue information of the previous tape – thus you end up with information only about the very last backup tape.

To fix that is as simple as

Inventory all backup tapes prior cataloguing them

Yep, that’s it. For some reason without that Backup exec seems to be unaware of any following tapes, and thus is not requesting them. When you actually inventory all of them before then Backup exec will keep requesting them during single catalogue job.

Bear in mind, the server will update its records only after completing the catalogue job, therefore patience you must have, my young sysadmin.