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  Frequently Asked Questions

This page tries to answer some of the commonly asked questions about WinTAR. They are by no means complete.


Why is the total archive size shown in WinTAR much less than that shown using "chkdsk" or "Properties" under Windows 95/98/NT/2000/XP?
This is related to the way the file system under MSDOS (using FAT) and Windows 95 (using VFAT) partitions your hard disk. Under FAT or VFAT, each file size is a multiple of a certain minimum block size depending on the size of the hard disk partition. For example, a 1 GB hard disk partition has a block size of 32KB. Hence, a file which is only one byte still takes up 32KB hard disk space. WinTAR counts the archive size using the actual size of the file and NOT the size as allocated by FAT. Hence, the total archive size can be considerably smaller.

Where can I find the latest version of WinTAR?
You can find the most up-to-date version of WinTAR in the software download page.

How can I back up the registry under Windows NT?
Windows NT comes with a disk recovery utility called rdisk that backs up the complete NT registry. If you're relying on WinTAR -Remote or WinTAR-SCSI to do full backup of your system, you may consider to run this utility after backing up your NT workstation. Please consult your NT manual for the usage of rdisk.

How can I back up the registry under Windows 2000/XP?
You can do that in two steps.  First, backup the system state using the Backup application that comes with Windows 2000/XP to a file.  Then, you can use WinTAR to backup the back-up file.


What are the limitations of WinTAR-Remote Version 2.2.1 under Windows XP?
If you have enabled the firewall feature in Windows XP, please read on. Both RSH and REXEC protocols require reverse connection from the host computer (the Unix workstation) back to your PC. For the RSH protocol, it will choose an unused TCP port between 513 and 1023. For the REXEC protocol, it will choose any unused TCP port from 1024 and 65535. Hence, you must open up all these TCP ports in order to successfully connect to your Unix host.

Why can't I find any options in accessing my tape drive situated on my PC?
WinTAR does not support local tape drives, either QIC-type or SCSI, currently. If you need to access your local SCSI tape drive on your PC, you should use WinTAR -SCSI.

Can I use WinTAR to duplicate a directory tree from a PC to a hard disk on a Unix workstation like what "rcp" does?
Yes. The trick is to change the remote write command in the Advanced options dialog box to "tar xvBbf %d -" where %d is the blocking factor.

Is there any way to tell WinTAR -Remote to use a blocking factor bigger than 63 blocks because my remote tape drive is optimized for 126 blocks?
You can specify the blocking factor to be 63, but explicitly put your desired blocking factor to 126 in the remote commands. Please make sure that the two blocking factors must be a multiple of each other to avoid some byte misalignment problems. For example:
Write: dd of=%s ibs=%db obs=126b
Read: dd if=%s ibs=126b obs=%db

How can I speed up my backup time?
You can decrease your backup time by increasing the blocking factor. The default value is 20 blocks, and a typical throughput using this value is 3 to 4 MB per minute. Change this value to 63 blocks increases the throughput to 8 to 12 MB per minute. Note that this corresponds to approximately 1.3 Mbps which is a typical effective throughput value under a 10 Mbps ethernet. Hence, there is no point in increasing this blocking factor further unless your remote backup device requires a larger blocking factor for optimum performance.

I'm using SCO Unix Open Server 5. The tape operation buttons (rewind, etc.) do not work at all.
The default settings in WinTAR assumes that your Unix workstation uses "mt" to operate your tape drive. SCO Unix Open Server 5 uses a different command set. To change the settings, do the following [Information source: Gavin Kelman (gavin_k@iafrica.com)]:

  • In the "Options" menu, select "Preferences...".
  • Click "Advanced...".
  • Change the commands as follows:
    Rewind Commmand: tape -s rewind %s
    End of Device Command: tape -s eod %s
    Forward Tape: tape -s -a %d rfm %s
    Tape Status: tape -s status %s
    Eject/Offline Command: tape -s unload %s
  • Click "OK"

How do I do incremental backups using WinTAR-Remote?
To do incremental backups, you must select both "Incremental backup" and "Clear Archive bit after back-up" options. Both options can be found in the Preferences dialog box under the Options menu. The backups should be done as follow:

  • First time "Full backup": Only select option "Clear Archive bit after back-up". This will clear the archive bit of each file after backing the file up. When you click the "Save Config" in the Create Archive dialog box, the option is saved along with your backup template to your specified template name.
  • Future "Incremental backup": Select both option "Clear Archive bit after back-up" and "Incremental backup". This will clear the archive bit of each file after backing the file up while only backing up those files that have the archive bit set. When you click the "Save Config" in the Create Archive dialog box, the option is saved along with your backup template.


What are the limitations of WinTAR-SCSI Version 2.3.0 under Windows 2000/XP?
Due to the tightened security model of Windows 2000 and XP, you must have Adminstrative privilege with your login user account in order to access the your attached SCSI tape drive. Moreover, the remote/removable storage manager under Windows 2000/XP may interfere with the operations of WinTAR-SCSI.  To avoid this interference, disable your scheduled remote storage manager tasks if configured, and do not expand the Removable Storage icon when you select Computer Management under the Administrative Tools or when you right-click and select Manage on the My Computer icon on the desktop.

My tape drive seems to work flawlessly with another backup application or with another tape using WinTAR-SCSI.  However, when I try to read or write to another tape using WinTAR-SCSI, WinTAR-SCSI pops up a dialog box saying "ASPI error in XXXX, Type = 2, Return code = 4", and I got stuck.  What does this error message mean?
This error message means the ASPI manager has aborted the read or write operation on a tape block because the SCSI tape drive does not respond in a timely manner.  This is a very complex issue, and it may be caused by one of the following possible reasons (and the list is growing from experience):

  • SCSI card settings for your tape drive is invalid
    • If you are using an Adaptec SCSI card with the SCSI Select configuration program, please make sure that SCSI Disconnect is enabled, Sync negotiation is disabled, and you may also need to increase or decrease the transfer rate.
  • SCSI card BIOS version is too old
    • If you have a retail version of Adaptec 2940UW SCSI card (not the on-board ones), please make sure that the BIOS version is at least 2.0.
  • SCSI card driver or tape drive firmware is too old
    • Go to your SCSI card vendor or tape drive vendor's web site to download the latest driver for your operating system or firmware for your tape drive.
  • The logical block size and/or tar tape blocking factor is not set up properly
    • Change the logical block size (from SCSI Tape tab of Preferences under the Options menu) to 0 and the tar tape blocking factor to 20, and let WinTAR-SCSI to re-detect the proper logical block size/blocking factor pair for you when you start to read the tape.
  • Interactions among between different SCSI devices and the SCSI card has caused interference
    • If you have some external SCSI devices, try to remove them and properly terminate the last SCSI device in the chain.  SCSI CD-R/CD-RW and ZIP drives can some cause problems.
    • Try to change the SCSI ID of your tape drive to between 2 and 5.
  • SCSI chain is too long
    • Your entire SCSI chain should not be longer than 15 feet.
  • Improper SCSI chain termination
    • Please make sure that your SCSI chain is terminated on both ends.
  • Interference from another backup application or service
    • Please make sure that you are not running another backup application and go to the Services manager if you use Windows NT/2000/XP to stop any backup services.
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