Are DEC TK50/TK70 tapes worth hanging onto?

Antonio Carlini a.carlini at
Wed Oct 19 12:23:51 CDT 2016

On 18/10/16 16:32, Thomas Dzubin wrote:
> But, I also have two big rubbermade containers (about half a cubic
> meter) filled with TK50 and TK70 tapes which I have never used.
> Some are blank, some are the boot & install media for VMS 5.5, some are
> software installations, etc. etc.
> In the past 25 years that I have had them, I have not once ever used
> my TK50 or TK70 drives...I've always either booted off the attached
> disks or netbooted.

I don't use TK50 tapes very often, but when I do, it's either to boot a 
VAX from cold
(and install VMS) or to make a standalone backup.

As for the value of the tapes, I've no idea about monetary value, but - 
in my view - they
are part of the culture associated with the machines. I probably 
wouldn't use TK50 to
install software as I already have it on CD and can set up an infoserver 
on the home
network if needed, but back in the day there were plenty of machines 
which had no easy
way to talk to a CD-ROM. When I worked in DEC that wasn't an issue, 
again because
there were infoservers around. When I was a customer, tapes were the 
only viable option for
a few of the machines (and for one it had to be 9-track tapes).

I expect that you'll get a few offers to take the carts off your hands.


Antonio Carlini
arcarlini at

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