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Activity Forums Storage & Archiving Windows NT Backup anyone?

  • Windows NT Backup anyone?

    Posted by Neil Sadwelkar on July 30, 2018 at 2:58 pm

    A client handed me some old LTO-4 tapes written by a post facility (which has subsequently shut down) and they now need to restore some files from the tapes.
    I managed to track down a techie from that facility and he thinks they may have used Windows NT Backup to write those tapes.

    I have a LTO-6 drive connected to my Mac, and Bru is what I use. But I’m open to buying any software that could read these tapes to restore the files the client needs. Or even doing some command line stuff if needed.

    Is there any Mac software or method that can read these Windows NT backup tapes? Just to reiterate these are LTO-4 tapes so LTFS is not likely. And Bru cannot identify the tapes.

    Will Yoyotta or Archiware manage to read (and restore) these tapes?

    Neil Sadwelkar
    twitter: fcpguru
    FCP Editor, Edit systems consultant
    Mumbai India

    Wang Qi replied 5 years, 11 months ago 3 Members · 5 Replies
  • 5 Replies
  • Jerzy Zbyslaw

    July 31, 2018 at 11:12 am

    Unfortunately I don’t know anything about Mac’s so I can’t help you there much although I can make some suggestions.

    (a) NTBackup uses the proprietary Microsoft format for storing data on tapes and there are a few other backup programs that also use this format and according to the wikipedia article on NTBackup “When used with tape drives, NTBackup uses the Microsoft Tape Format (MTF),[5] which is also used by BackupAssist and Backup Exec and Veeam Backup & Replication[6] and is compatible with BKF.[7]” but whether any of these also run on Mac’s I don’t have any idea.

    (b) The best way to do this is if you have access to a windows 7 machine I’d suggest buying a used LTO4 drive which should be very cheap and installing it in conjunction with a SAS or HBA card as appropriate to run it. Then either download the free Microsoft utility that can restore the data on Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2 machines here which should work without too many problems, alternatively download the free Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows program together with the free Backup and Replication 9.5 program as the second one is the program that actually interfaces with tape drives.

    (c) If you still want to use the Mac then you could try this tool here but from comments it seems a bit flaky


  • Neil Sadwelkar

    August 3, 2018 at 2:52 pm

    I researched this further and found some methods to read the .bkf files from a NTBackup tape on a Windows system.
    But recent versions of Windows don’t have any tape interface options so there are hacks needed for that.

    I do have an LTO-6 drive and that reads this LTO-4 tape with a NTBackup on it. I’ve confirmed that the tape was written at a facility that had used NTBackup in Win Server 2003 (or maybe Win2k) to write this tape.

    Meanwhile, while researching if there was any way to simply read off the tape and restore the raw data to a drive, I came across this post from Tim (in response to a post I had made) a year ago detailing how Bru allows read from tape and restore to disk from the command line.

    I’m wondering of this can help me extract the tape to a file or files on disk and then I can take that over to a Windows system and do the NTBackup restore from disk.


    Hi Neil,

    That’s what the TOLIS Tape Tools parts which are included with your BRU PE license are for – the “taperead” tool specifically in this case. It will allow you to read raw data from any tape and output that data to a disk file (or pipe it into another tool like tar or cpio). The downside is that you do need to have a basic understanding of how the tape was originally written including the block size that was used when writing the tape since there is no mechanism to ask a tape how it was written – variable vs. fixed block, 512b, 1024b, or another block size, etc. – to be able to properly read the content. You then need to understand how the originating software containerized the data when writing it to the tape (e.g.: tar, cpio, pax, bru, mtf, etc.) so that you can do something with the raw information once it is read from the tape.

    For instance, to read a tape created with a Cache-A unit in tar format, we know two things – the tape was written in ustar format and it was written with a -b 300 blocking factor (tar uses 512-byte blocks, so that’s 150KB). To read a segment from that tape, you would use a command like this:

    taperead -b 150k -f ntape0 | tar -tvvf – -b 300

    That reads the raw data on the tape and sends it out via taperead’s “stdout” channel and then pipes it into tar’s “stdin” channel and would show you a table of contents (file listing) for the current segment on the tape.

    For other formats, you would use a similar syntax, adjusting the -b argument as required, and sending the output to a disk file using redirection (“>”) or to an app like tar using a pipe (“|”).


    Neil Sadwelkar
    twitter: fcpguru
    FCP Editor, Edit systems consultant
    Mumbai India

  • Jerzy Zbyslaw

    August 5, 2018 at 6:22 pm

    Have you tried the two free Veeam products I suggested as I have written to and read from my SAS LTO3 using Windows 7 without any “hacks” whatsoever?

  • Neil Sadwelkar

    August 6, 2018 at 9:45 am


    Thanks for the tips.
    I am downloading Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 and Veeam Agent for Windows 2.2.

    I have a bunch of Macs and a couple of licences of Parallels as well as two old DVDs with Win 7. I hope to get through with this, (on a Mac) or else I’ll have to score an old Windows system with Win 7. I have a SAS LTO-6 tape drive and a SAS card, so I can read these LTO-4 NTBackup tapes. I had checked that earlier.

    This is for clients of a post house that shut down a couple of months ago. They have scores, maybe even hundreds of LTO-4 tapes all written with NTBackup which are lying with clients. I hope to be able to restore these tapes for them and migrate them to newer LTO-7 or LTO-8 tapes eventually, if I can get their data on a hard disk somehow.

    Neil Sadwelkar
    twitter: fcpguru
    FCP Editor, Edit systems consultant
    Mumbai India

  • Wang Qi

    August 21, 2018 at 1:43 am

    NTBackup is the built-in backup tool introduced by Windows NT around 1997, it can be used to back up the vital files in Windows 2000/2003/XP, and easy to restore the backup in such operating system.
    So if you want to restore them in other servers, like 2008,2012,2016,etc, it can be difficult. But you can get much help from

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