Windows XP Professional provides removable storage services that enable the sharing and management of removable media hardware like backup tape drives, optical discs and automated (robotic) media pool libraries. This means that there is no need for software developers to write custom application programs to support each different type of removable media device, although a set of APIs is available to enable third-party software solutions to catalog all removable media, such as DVDs, tapes and optical discs. Both online and offline media can be catalogued.
Removable storage organizes media using media pools which control access to the removable media, categorize it according to type of use and allow it to be shared by applications. Removable storage tracks the application programs that share the removable media.
Removable storage is logically structured into five basic components: media units, media libraries, media pools, work queue items and operator requests. It is managed from the MMC snap-in named Removable storage.
In particular, Windows XP provides comprehensive control of tape devices. You can back up or restore from tape devices, enable or disable specific tapes in your library, insert and eject media and mount or dismount media. Backing up to tape is still very popular, but you can also back up to network shares, local hard drives or removable media such as Zip disks or Jaz disks.
The Windows XP Backup utility does not support backing up directly to CD-R or CD-RW media, but you can copy files directly to a CD-R or a CD-RW disc, or copy a backup file that was created by the Backup utility to a CD-R or CD-RW disc. The Windows XP Backup utility can read directly from CD-R or CD-RW media to perform the restore procedure.
If a tape device is PnP-compliant, Windows XP will detect it automatically and install the appropriate drivers and allocate system resources. If you are using a tape device that is not PnP-compliant, you can use the Add Hardware applet in Control Panel to install the drivers and assign resources for the device. You can use Device Manager to enable, disable or edit settings for any tape device.
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