Recovering data from 4mm and 8mm tapes

healyzh at healyzh at
Mon Mar 23 11:12:56 CDT 2015

My experience is that if you can find an Exabyte EXB-8500, you can 
probably read that 8mm, newer drives may also work just fine (it's been 
enough years, I forget just how new of drives we've been able to read 
8mm tapes of that vintage on.

What's likely to be difficult though is the 4mm tape.  The 4mm DDS tapes 
are probably proprietary to the drive model, and potentially to the 
drive they were written in (if the heads were out of alignment).  I hate 
trying to recover 4mm data.  Was it written using a SGI branded drive?  
If so that would make things easier.  Actually if it was written a drive 
that was relatively new in 1998 it might be easier, buy then things were 
fairly standardized.

No clue on the Linux/IRIX question, but I would imagine Google can help 
you there, as that seems like a common enough problem.


On 2015-03-23 08:46, Douglas Taylor wrote:
> I've been recovering old data from computers that I used many years
> ago, the last effort was trying to recover the data from a hard disk
> that ran a WFW 3.11 system.  The problem was the disk could not be
> read on a modern computer, so I recreated an old system and (very
> lucky for me) ftp'd the data off the system after I found an ISA
> network card.
> I have a couple of 4mm and 8mm tapes that contain data I want to
> recover.  The 4mm is DDS-1 and was written using tar on a SGI system
> in 1998.  My questions are;
> 'What modern DAT tape drive will read this tape?  How backward
> compatible is this technology?'
> This seems like an easy problem and intend to use a linux system to
> read the tape.
> The 8mm tapes were also written on an SGI system, however it was in
> 1994 and the IRIX Backup utility was used.  IRIX 5 was probably used.
> Any ideas?

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