Backup Exec’s “Ready; No idle devices are available” job status

Normally, seeing the “Ready; No idle devices are available” job status in Backup Exec is not a problem because there are other jobs already using the devices that job is assigned to. When I have 2 tape drives sitting there empty and doing nothing, I get a little concerned, though!

Such was the case today when I did my morning check of the Symantec Backup Exec 2010 R3 console. There were a LOT of “missed” jobs in the Job History, even more waiting in the “Ready; No idle devices are available” status, and the ones that were running were all using backup-to-disk devices. These drives have been running for months with no problem, though! So I tried the obvious stuff first:

  • verify the drives are showing up on the Devices console
  • disable the drives, (right-click and uncheck “Enable”), and then re-enable them
  • reboot the server
  • reboot the tape library
  • try to run a clean drive job or an inventory job
  • verify there was lots of media in the Scratch Media pool
  • call Symantec lots of bad names…

Nothing seemed to work. After some Googling, I ran across a few posts that recommended uninstalling/reinstalling BE or uninstalling/reinstalling device drivers for the tape drives, but that seemed a little drastic. After a little more searching, I ran across a post from 2008 that seemed to make sense and wasn’t too complicated. The poster recommended changing the device driver for the library to the “Unknown Medium Changer” driver and rebooting the library and server. I had seen a similar solution on a couple of other forums, but it was usually part of a larger “fix” and I didn’t give it much attention. Since I had found nothing better and was getting desperate, I figured I’d give it a try!

  1. Open Device Manager on the server the library is connected to. On my Windows Server 2008 R2 machine, that was at Start -> Administrative Tools -> Server Manager and then Diagnostics -> Device Manager in the Server Manager console
  2. Drill down to Medium Changer Devices and see if your library shows up as “Unknown Medium Changer”. Mine showed up as a “Hewlett Packard MSL G3 Series library (x64 based)”.
  3. If it isn’t configured with the right driver, right-click the device and choose “Update Driver Software…”.
  4. From the wizard, choose “Browse my computer for driver software”, then “Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer”
  5. The list of compatible drivers should show the current driver and the “Unknown Medium Changer” driver. Choose the “Unknown Medium Changer” and click Next.
  6. The device driver should install and then prompt you for a reboot. Choose to reboot later.
  7. Completely shut down and power off the server
  8. Reboot the tape library
  9. When the library is in the “Ready” state, (usually after Initializing and Scanning), power on the server
  10. Verify the tape library and drives show up in BE and manually kick off an inventory job or one of you backup to tape jobs to verify it runs.

This solved the problem for me, and things are running like they’re supposed to now! Surprisingly, the “Unknown Medium Changer” driver is actually a Microsoft driver and not from Symantec like I expected it to be. Oh well! As long as it works!

Posted in Technology
2 comments on “Backup Exec’s “Ready; No idle devices are available” job status
  1. Dustin says:

    Thank you so much. You have no idea how hard it was to find this article. I want to know what caused it! Thank you so much.

  2. masterofthehat says:

    Glad it helped! It was a pain in the butt for me!

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