Need to know DDS drive used to write backup tapes

From: Doc Shipley <>
Date: Thu Sep 30 12:15:14 2004

Zane H. Healy wrote:

>>I am trying to figure out what tape drive was used to write some DDS tapes
>>that I'd like to read. The only clues I have are that they were written
>>on a VAX of some sort under VAX OpenVMS 5.5-2.
>>Any ideas?
> On a related note, I have a LOT of 4mm tapes sitting around that were
> written on a Unix system in the 1992 timeframe. I have no idea what type
> drive the tapes were written on. Anyone have any idea how to go about
> figuring this one out?

   If the cartridges (note correct USian spelling) have a tape length
printed on them that will tell you whether they're 1GB, 2GB, etc. Most
DDS drives will read, if not write, older formats. IOW a DDS3 drive
should rad a DDS1 tape.

   The bigger problem is whether hardware compression was used, and what
Unix tools were used to create the tape - tar, cpio, dump - and those
are just the common ones.... All the Unix standards allow TOC listing
of an archive, which should tell you if you're using the right tool.
DDS tapes have a write-protect as well, so if the tapes are in good
shape, you ought to be able to do that non-destructively.

> My recommendation has been to send them to the data recovery service that we
> use (same with the stash of 8mm's).

   I'd be inclined to do some futzing around with them first. A DDS1-3
drive will just spit the tape if it can't ID the media, and depending on
the Unix in question, it's an odds-on bet that the archives were made
with either tar or cpio.

> I'd much rather have to retrieve data from a TK50 than a 4mm or a 8mm!

   True, but the time-frame for these narrows the field considerably.

Received on Thu Sep 30 2004 - 12:15:14 BST

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