VMS/RSX tape backup problem

joe heck trash3 at splab.cas.neu.edu
Mon Mar 14 20:39:01 CST 2005

Hi everyone,
    Well, I am finally getting around to trying to recover some 26 
9-track tapes I have been holding on to for
at least 10 years.  Some are closer to 25 years.  I found out six of 
them had no data, and a bunch more I
have been able to read and decode, including some RT-11 tapes and some 
VAX SIG tapes.  Sorry this
monologue won't make much sense to you non-DEC folks, but you might have 
ideas on converting from 800
to 1600 BPI anyway.

Here is my dilemna.  I have 6 tapes that look like they are 800 BPI, and 
were most likely written on an RSX-11
system.  I have no 800 BPI setup, and if I did, it would be on a VAX, 
which may not be able to restore the
savesets anyway.  That is because I  have a few more tapes that I can 
read (or at least dump) but I cannot unpack
the savesets.  It would appear that the tapes were written in the early 
days of VMS when the backup and restore
utilities were really RSX-11 BCK/RST derivitives, and the current BACKUP 
program does not recognize
the container file as a valid saveset.

The label on the front of several tapes date them early 80's and talks 
about BCK format. The dump sort of looks
like BCK stuff.  The blocksize is 2064. 

I've had a couple of offers to try to recover the data, but I was 
checking to see if anybody was set up to easily
read and recover the data, without a lot of reconfiguration or hassle.  
I'm open to suggestions.  I suspect if I knew
the layout of a BCK container/saveset I could unpack them myself (except 
for the 800 BPI stuff).  Any ideas??

I also have an XXDP tape, labeled MSDP, which makes me think it is 
bootable.  It would be nice to duplicate
it, as it is not easily read to disk.  The first block is 14 bytes, and 
the rest look like 512 bytes.

And finally, I have a tape that is readable, is mountable under VMS and 
I can copy nearly everything off of.
That is, the 400+ files up to the file that is marked HECK.BCK.  That 
file is  2064 byte blocks, which makes
me think it is also a BCK/RST format.  Can't figure how I got it on the 
end of the tape and haven't figured
out how to get it back.


Joe Heck

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