How to configure USB Disks as Backup to Disk Targets in Backup Exec 2010 R2 and R3

Article:HOWTO55855  |  Created: 2011-07-06  |  Updated: 2014-02-25  |  Article URL
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How To


To configure USB Disks as a storage targets for backups and allow disk rotation for offsite storage using Backup Exec 2010 R2 or R3 do the following:

  1. For GRT or large backup support, format all the USB disks with NTFS
  2. Make sure that each drive has a unique volume GUID (see section below)
  3. On Each USB disk configure a uniquely named standard Backup-to-Disk (B2D) Device, making sure that both the B2D Device and the name of the folder containing the device are unique from those created on any other USB disks. For example, if the intention is to use 5 USB disks covering Monday through Friday, then on the Monday disk, create a standard B2D device called MONDAY in a folder called X:\MONDAY, then create a standard B2D device on the next disk called TUESDAY in a folder called X:\TUESDAY repeating through to FRIDAY.  NOTE: Use standard B2D devices do not use Removable Backup-to-Disk devices as this type of B2D is designed for cartridge/carrier based devices such as RDX technology and not for USB disks where the complete device is unplugged.
  4. Create a Device Pool containing the B2D Devices.
  5. Target your backup jobs jobs to the Device Pool instead of sending them to the specific B2D.


  • Always try to safely remove the USB disk using the utility provided within the operating system, do not just unplug the USB disk unless unavoidable.
  • When plugging a USB disk containing a configured B2D device back into the server, wait a short while before expecting Backup Exec to have detected the drive.
  • If intending to do daily, weekly and monthly backups with USB disks, consider creating multiple Device Pools for the daily, weekly and monthly  jobs. This will make it possible to assign different disks to the different pools and then target the backup jobs accordingly.
  • There is no need to configure specific drive letters onto the USB disks. Backup Exec can now detect drive letter changes caused by the operating system.
  • Disable/remove any auto starting software (such as U3 support) present on the USB disk when purchased.
  • Restrict the use of each B2D device to one media server unless that server experiences a disaster. Using the same B2D device with different media servers can cause problems relating to duplicate .BKF file and IMG folder names.  

Note 1: Prior to Backup Exec 2010 R2, the ability to maintain B2D devices on USB disks when they were disconnected and reconnected was not officially supported.

Note 2: This article discusses how USB disks should be configured as Backup-to-Disk (B2D) Targets. It refers to disk technologies where the complete device can be detached from the server. Disk technologies such as RDX, GoVault and Rev drives where a cartridge/carrier containing a disk is removed from an enclosure are not covered by the content of this document even if the device enclosure itself is USB connected.

Changing the volume GUID for a drive:

Recently Symantec have seen an increase in the number of disks provided by hardware vendors which do not have unique volume GUIDs. In Backup Exec 2010 R2 and R3  this will cause identification issues which will affect the rotation strategy.

Thanks to Symantec Connect forum members "IT downunder" and "pkh" for providing the the basis for the following steps on how to check and change the volume GUID:

  1. Attach the first disk to the media server and run DISKPART (in a command prompt)
  2. Within DISKPART enter SELECT DISK #, where # is the disk number in the system (use Disk Management to find disk number).
  3. If using Windows 2008 or later, within DISKPART enter UNIQUEID DISK, if using Windows 2003 enter DETAIL DISK
    This will provide details of the Disk ID e.g. "e9eb3aa5"
  4. Now attach the second (or third, etc) drive and do the same, ifthere is a conflict issue then the new drive will have the same Disk ID as the first drive.
  5. If a conflict is found and the Media Server operating system is Windows 2008 or later, each disk can be manually given a unique Disk ID using the DISKPART utility to overwrite the existing ID with a new ID, (suggestion is to change 1 digit for each new disk, taking care to use hex characters). The DISKPART command is UNIQUEID DISK ID=nnnnnnnn, where the nnnnnnnn is the new, unique ID choosen. Note: Windows 2003 DISKPART did not provide a way to change the Disk ID, if you experience issues relating to this on Windows 2003 then 3rd party or hardware vendor utilities may be needed.
  6. On any disk where the Disk ID is changed, delete all the Backup Exec folders from that disk (including /BEControl and /BEdata), disconnect the USB drive and reconnect it, then configure a new B2D on the drive.



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