Writing SCSI 9-Track Mag Tapes from Windows/DOS

Chuck Guzis cclist at sydex.com
Sat Oct 3 13:19:35 CDT 2015

On 10/02/2015 11:28 PM, Marc Verdiell wrote:
> Chuck,
> Thanks for your STP2T02.exe  SCSI tape to SIMH program. Ran like a champ
> under Win98 DOS, first time. It's the only utility that did work out of the
> box to read a tape from my SCSI-1 HP 88780 9-track into a SIMH file,  out of
> the 5 or so I tried.  Before I jump to Linux, which seems to be the more
> straightforward option, does anyone have the reverse tool to write a SIMH
> image file on a 9 Track tape under Windows/DOS? None of the utilities I
> found using Windows Tape APIs could deal with my tape SCSI-1 early
> interface, they all expect some basic (SCSI-2?) functions that are not
> implemented.

Thanks for the kind words.  I didn't do the reverse, as my interest lies 
primarily in retrieving data from old media, not creating more data on 
old media.   Generally, I make the SIMH file from a tape and have a 
bunch of utilities to process the file for conversion to modern formats 
(code translation, deblocking, un-archiving, etc.).

That being said, there are routines in that SCSI package for writing 
tape.  They were borrowed from an old forensics package that had to 
pretty much work with any SCSI device, so I'm pretty confident that 
they'll work.  They were replaced about 8 years of field use with a C++ 
version (much easier to handle the minutiae of tape when encapsulated as 
a C++ object).

I'm sure that John's st() utilities are equally valuable, but I never 
could get them to work with my setup.

The general problem with UNIX/BSD/Linux is that the philosophy there is 
that everything is basically a disk file, however physically embodied. 
Tapes are not disks.

In general, I don't like most SCSI tape drives for data retrieval, as 
the SCSI interface seems to require that implied read-ahead be used to 
keep the tape moving.  There's nothing quite like watching a SCSI tape 
drive going through a "scrubbing" cycle trying to read a tape block that 
you never asked for.


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