I'm trying to restore a backup from an old QIC-150 tape. While I'm able to read the raw data from the tape (using linux), I can't recognize the binary format of the data (the tape is not mine). There are, however, some hints that it was written using a tool called QICStream, which seems to have been a utility for DOS that was bundled with Archive Corp tape drives.

I've searched the web for this QICStream tool, but can't seem to find it anywhere. Does anyone have access to, or know of a way to obtain, this utility?

(Or perhaps suggest a more modern backup software that might be compatible with tapes written by QICStream?)

1 Answer 1


QICStream became Backup Exec, which is still available commercially although I don’t know whether the current versions can still read QICStream tapes (I doubt it).

Conner Backup Exec for DOS was capable of reading most QICStream tapes, and it can still be found online. Some data conversion companies are still capable of dealing with such tapes too.

  • Excellent; thanks! I've gotten a hold of the old Conner Backup Exec software, but it doesn't seem to work with my specific drive (Tandberg 3600 SCSI) -- it actually detects the drive, but can't read from it. I'll have to try another drive, if I can find one. Would you happen to know if there is any documentation of the format/specification of the QICStream data, since I technically already have the data dumped? May 6, 2019 at 23:47
  • I suspect you’d have to find one of those QIC tape drives which connects to the floppy controller... I don’t know of any documentation of the QICStream data, no. May 7, 2019 at 7:58
  • I ended up reverse-engineering the backup format, which turned out to be easier than putting together a live machine with a tape drive: github.com/dbrant/QICStreamReader May 17, 2019 at 16:24
  • Nice! This would make a useful addition to tapeutils if you feel like converting it to C ;-). May 21, 2019 at 12:47
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    I wrote that old QICStream DOS software, way back when working for Archive (all 16-bit X86 assembly, long gone). The logical format must be in a Quarter-Inch-Committe (QIC) document somewhere. Perhaps you'll find it here: qic.org/html/standards/4x.x/qic40m.pdf
    – Paul Houle
    Jun 26, 2019 at 4:49

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