Backing up TK50s (was: VMS 6.2 or older install media needed.)

Eric Josephson ericj at
Mon Jan 21 16:02:16 CST 2008

On Mon, 21 Jan 2008, Dave Dunfield wrote:

> ...
> 2) What is the best way to backup these tapes to a more
>    permanent media?  Can they be read into binary files,
>    and if so, can anything be done with those files?
>    Presumably, as long as the tape blocks were archived,
>    one could write a SCSI tape emulator if one really
>    had to - or does such a thing already exist?)
>    I have available:
>      - Vaxstation 4000 VLC running VMS  5.5
>      - Vaxserver 3100 running OpenVMS 7.2
>      - Vaxstation 3100 running NetBSD
>    All have SCSI ports.
>    I relatively green at VMS from a system administration
>    viewpoint (used it as a user lots in years gone by).
>    I've never mounted or used tapes, but with a bit of
>    guidance I'm willing to try and recover these if anyone
>    has interest in their content.
> ...

Here's what I do:

1. Use VMSTPCE to image the tape on a VMS box.
2. Transfer the image into a VMS system running under simh.
3. Use VMSTPCE to write the image to a simh tap file via an emulated TK50.

There may be some more straightforward way to convert a vmstpce file
to a simh tap file.  If so, I'm interested in hearing about it.

You can find VMSTPCE here:

I'd also clean the TK50 and TZ30 drives and test them with scratch media.
Clean as needed (each use?) and be grateful for every tape the drive
returns to you unscathed.


Eric Josephson

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