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How do I eject a stuck tape?
(KB # 407B83AD)

There are a number of reasons why the tape might not come out when you press the drive's unload button. Some of the most common causes of the "tape will not eject" are listed below:

  • A SCSI bus command Prevent Media Removal has been issued to the tape drive. A Prevent Media Removal command will cause the unload button to be ignored. Some software packages issue a Prevent Media Removal to prevent accidental unloading of the tape drive during a backup (the unload button was hit accidentally).

  • The tape drive is completing the current operation and rewinding the tape. When the unload button is pressed, the drive completes the current operation, rewinds the tape, unloads the tape from the tape path, and ejects the cartridge. Depending on the type of operation in progress and how close the tape is to the end, this may take several minutes. To check if there is an operation in progress, refer to drive's LEDs.

  • The tape drive is loading the cartridge. If a tape was just inserted, the drive must complete the loading process before beginning the unload process.

  • The tape drive is performing a power-on self-test. During a power on self-test, the unload button is ignored.

  • The tape drive did not complete its power-on self-test (POST). The drive must be powered on and successfully complete POST before it can unload a cartridge. To see if the drive has failed POST, refer to the drive's LEDs.

  • The tape drive is processing a reset command. During a reset, the drive must complete resetting itself before processing the unload button request.

  • The tape drive experienced a hardware (servo) error during the unload process. If a hardware error occurs, the tape drive stops the unload process and the LEDs indicate an error.


Try these steps to eject the tape:

Note: After clearing the error and ejecting the tape, insert a tape with no important data on it and make sure that the tape drive can successfully eject it before resuming operation.


  1. Use your application software to eject the cartridge. To protect against accidental tape ejection during a backup or restore operation, many applications prevent using the tape drive's eject button for media removal.


  2. Use one of the drive utilities such as TDTool to unload the cartridge. If the backup application has prevented using the eject button, there are several tape drive utilities which can be used to override this condition and eject the cartridge. Depending on your tape drive model and your operating system, the following utilties can be used to unload tape. Refer to the readme or help file available with each utility for instructions on unloading a tape.


  3. If you cannot eject the cartridge through the application, reset the tape drive. Some tape drive models allow you to reset the drive manually. Please check below for your specific drive model. If your drive model is not listed, continue to the next step.


    • M2 and MammothTape drives: To reset the M2 or Mammoth tape drive, press and hold the unload button for 10 seconds. Then, after the drive comes ready, press the unload button again to eject the tape.



    • VXA-2 tape drives: Press and hold the VXA-2 unload button for at least 10 seconds, then release the button. This clears any error, ejects any cartridge that is in the tape drive (unless a hardware error occurred), and resets the VXA-2 drive. NOTE: If the tape drive contains a cartridge, the tape drive rewinds the tape to the beginning before ejecting the cartridge. The time required to complete the rewind depends on what size cartridge you are using and if the tape was positioned near the end.



    • LTO Ultrium drives: First verify that there is no SCSI, SAS or FC bus activity to the library or drive, then reset the LTO drive through the Library Control Panel. Then, after the drive comes ready, press the unload button again to eject the tape.



  4. Power cycle the tape drive off the bus. Power down the tape drive. If the tape drive is installed in an autoloader or library, this means power-cycling the autoloader or library. Remove the firewire cable or SCSI cable and SCSI terminator. Wait 10 seconds, then turn the tape drive back on. When the tape drive comes ready, press the unload button again.

    Note for VXA tape drives: Depending on what function the drive was performing before the reset, the VXA drive may automatically start a format recovery process, which involves reading the data to determine where the end of data is located. This may take as long as 2 to 3 hours. Wait for the format recovery to complete and the tape drive to come ready, and then press the unload button again to eject the tape.

  5. Perform a manual tape extraction procedure. A manual tape extraction should only be performed in an emergency situation. Tandberg Data does not assume responsibility for any damage to the tape drive, the data cartridge, or the tape or for the loss of any data resulting from these procedures. Any damage to the tape drive caused by this procedure will be repaired as a nonwarranty repair and may void the existing warranty for the tape drive.
  6. If the cartridge appears to be stuck in the tape drive, return the tape drive for service. If you still cannot eject the cartridge, you may need to return the tape drive for repair with the cartridge in place.


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