This problem could be caused by any number of hardware failures, including a bad SCSI card, a dirty tape drive, a bad cable or even a bad tape. (New tapes are not always a good thing.) I would try to backup to these tapes using tar or a similar utility. If that fails, then your troubleshooting list gets shorter. If it works, then your problem is probably most likely with the archive software.
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This was first published in May 2002