Is there a program to analyze a mag tape

Nico de Jong nico at
Fri Feb 15 13:34:34 CST 2008

From: <g-wright at>
> I a have a lot of mag tape/cartridge tape that I would like to analyze.
> I there a program that would write the whole tape then read it back,
> logging the retries and the errors.
I am not aware of a program doing that job, but there is a way out, at least
for reel-to-reel tapes and 3480/3490 type cartridges.

Some tapedrives, like the Qualstar 3412S, have a hardware function called
Read/Write test. The 3412S will write a tape, and for every error it finds,
it lights/extinghuishes a LED. So, by looking at how many times a KED
switches, you can get an idea of the quality.
When talking about reel to reel tapes, you will see that most of the errors
are found within the first 5 % of the length. You can then cut that part of
the tape, put on a new blink, and enjoy a useable tape.

The 3412 will do that for all 3 densities it can write : 1600, 3200 and 6250
bpi. It will stop testing when a certain number of errors has been detected.


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