An explanation of "soft" and "hard" write errors visible on the Statistics tab within Backup Exec.

Article:TECH7363  |  Created: 2000-01-02  |  Updated: 2013-11-06  |  Article URL
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Technical Solution



An explanation of "soft" and "hard" write errors visible on the Statistics tab within Backup Exec.


The Statistics tab of the Drive Properties (Figure 1) can be useful to determine Soft Write Errors and Hard Write Errors. The Hours In Use displays how long the drive has been in operation (i.e. read, write, seek operations). This also indicates how long the drive has been in use since it was last cleaned, as the number indicated in Figure 2 shows.

To view the Device properties and the Statistics tab:

1. Click the Devices tab
2. Right-click the device
3. Select Properties and click on the Statistics tab (Figure 1)

Figure 1

Figure 2

Soft write errors are the number of recoverable non-critical write errors that are encountered, meaning that a write operation on a block first failed and the subsequent retry was successful. If soft write errors are seen, it may indicate the beginning of a problem. When more of these soft write errors are seen, then you should consider checking the media for damage and cleaning the device, which will usually improve the situation. If the errors start to become excessive, the device may require servicing or replacing. As soft write errors usually indicate driver problems, check out the SCSI controller and device drivers, as approximately 95% of hardware errors and I/O errors are caused by outdated drivers.

Hard write errors are unrecoverable critical write errors that the tape device encounters, meaning that a write operation on a block failed and the subsequent retries also failed. This is generally a sign of problems with the tape device itself or possible problems with the SCSI configuration settings.  

Also in windows event viewer check for events like 5,7,9,11,15 for hardware failure.

Based on a measurement of soft write errors and hard write errors generated by the device(s), documentation included with the device(s) should list acceptable limits for hard and soft write errors. For this kind of device problem, it is advisable to contact the hardware manufacturer of the device(s).

NOTE: These errors in no way prevent data from being properly written to backup media. Symantec encourages users to enable the Verify option on backup jobs to ensure the integrity of the data being written to the media for all Backup Jobs, regardless of this condition

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