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Common Problems

Whatever the problem
The end of the world might not be nigh but if it's the end of the financial year and you cannot restore your backup, then it might well feel like it is.

Vogon specialises in Tape Data Recovery when your drive or software fails.

We have developed, both in-house and in conjunction with manufacturers, an unrivalled range of hardware and software tools to deal with almost every situation. If your data is there, we will recover it.

Damaged tape Media Error Restore fails
Tape appears to be blank Overwritten Tape Erased Tape
Drive Hangs Other  
Tape is used as a sequential storage medium. It is not suited to random access operations but provides an effective, high capacity and yet low-cost solution to the problems of securing your data.

As with anything else, things can go wrong.

One potential problem with sequential storage media is that a problem at one point along the tape might prevent access to areas of well recorded data further along the tape. A recording error or media flaw during the early part of a UNIX tar backup will prevent you from being able to restore data from the remainder of the set.

A tape drive assumes that the last thing you recorded is the most recent thing that you want to be able to retrieve. Once recording is completed, a tape drive records an end-of-recorded-media indicator and no commercially available drive will allow access to any area beyond this point. Even if access was permitted by the drive, your backup software would not know what to do with any data that it found as vital information would have been overwritten.
Removable media devices have to conform with specifications in order that they can read data from media written in other drives.

Any DDS2 DAT drive, for example, should be able to read data from a 120m DAT cartridge that has been written by another drive. If a drive mechanism begins to wear then recording could take place outside the positions that allow interchangeability. When that drive finally fails and is replaced, none of the more recent tapes can be read.
Damaged tape
Snapped or creased
A creased or crumpled tape will have sustained data loss. Your drive will not allow access to data from beyond the damage, even from areas where there is perfect tape. Vogon will recover ANY data from undamaged areas of tape, and often even from areas where there is some apparent damage.

Fire or Flood?
Water damaged tape can have sustained damage due to pollutants or from corrosion of the tape mechanism. Any attempt to read the tape will probably result in further damage to both tape and drive. Vogon has extensive experience of these problems and can prepare your tape so that further data loss is prevented and an optimal recovery is achieved.

Fire or extreme heat will cause data loss and might result in a failure of the tape mechanism. Any attempt to read from the tape will fail and might cause the tape to snap or become wound inside the drive mechanism. Our painstaking approach and expertise have recovered data from tapes damaged by even severe fires.

Media Error/Restore fails
The words 'READ ERROR' or 'READ FAILURE' appear on the screen and you cannot recover the remainder of your backup set. At Vogon we will read all unaffected areas of the tape and then, by using our in-house software tools or by writing bespoke code, we will restore the files from your tape.

Media errors can result from drive problems, wear and tear and dirt within the drive.

Tape appears to be blank
Your backup software reports 'BLANK TAPE' and tells you that the tape must be formatted or initialised before it can be used. You know that you wrote several gigabytes of data to this tape just a few days earlier.

This can be an alignment problem, data corruption, or perhaps someone carried out a quick erase, then hid their mistake and did not tell you. Vogon's specialised hardware will bypass the problem to recover your data.

Overwritten Tape/Erased Tape
You have just started a backup and then realised that you are overwriting the only copy of your business-critical data. You abort the backup or switch off the drive, but it is too late. Your drive will no longer permit access to the original data even though it is still there. Even if it did, your backup software could not retrieve files from within the data.

Vogon will access any unaffected area of tape and be able to recover your data.

Drive Hangs
You might have a serious media failure or a head alignment problem. Vogon has an unrivalled range of tools to compensate for the problem and recover your data.

Poor recording
Sometimes a recording flaw can be serious enough to cause the drive firmware to crash and paralyse your entire system. Vogon's recovery drives are designed to cope with such a situation.

Incomplete recording
A hardware error during writing could have abnormally terminated a backup session. Some backup utilities require access to an on-tape directory that is written once the backup is complete. If the directory is incomplete or corrupt then the software could freeze or fail.
incomplete backup image
Over the years Vogon have dealt with problems from the minor to the catastrophic.

If you cannot find your problem detailed within these pages we can still help you. Phone us on +44 (0) 1869 355255 and speak with the experts.

UK +44 (0) 1869 355255
Freephone 0800 581263
data.recovery@vogon.co.uk USA +1 405 321 2585
Toll Free 1-800 392-5373
München +49 (0) 89 3235030
Köln +49 (0) 2203 91547 400
Freecall 00800 42424200
datenrettung@vogon.de Norway +47 2337 1400
Freecall 00800 42004242

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