Questions tagged [magnetic-tape]

for questions about the magnetic tape storage format

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19
votes
7answers
4k views

Why were closed tape loops never a popular storage medium (or were they)?

Tape storage is, in some sense, the most successful technology across all of IT, being first used in the 1950s and AFAIK still unbeaten today in its niche. Though the success is mostly because tape ...
17
votes
5answers
2k views

How does a floppy drive identify the first and last sectors and tracks?

I've recently found a more modern application "Floppy Disk Master-7"(Picture 2) (FDM) that visualized the bad sectors, tracks and clusters(Picture 1) on a floppy disk in a similar (but ...
15
votes
8answers
2k views

Developing an application in the era of cassette tapes (audio-tapes)

My colleague and I have just had a conversation and we were wondering how the process of developing an application was done in the era of cassette tapes. Today we have HDDs, backup HDDs, FTPs, ...
14
votes
2answers
3k views

Why are the magnetic floppy disk drives (FDD) heads not frictionless?

After reading this answer to the question How long can a floppy disk spin before wearing out? ... one could see thru the floppy... Not just badly worn, but the magnetic coating was outright polished ...
13
votes
5answers
2k views

Magnetic tapes as a random access medium?

A two-part question: How widespread in legacy systems was the practice of using magnetic tapes as a genuinely random access medium at the OS level by pre-formatting them in a way before the first use,...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the best way to connect an old Tandberg QIC tape drive using today's computers?

I currently have a ton of QIC-250MB tapes that I would like to read from (its been 30 years). I have a Tandberg TDC 3600 SCSI interfaced tape drive but I am lost how to connect it. In the past, with ...
11
votes
2answers
763 views

Reading old QIC-80 tape using Linux with ftape

I have an old Colorado 250MB tape drive, which connects to the PC's floppy controller, that I'd like to use to read a QIC-80 cartridge. I know that very old versions of the Linux kernel used to have ...
9
votes
1answer
187 views

What is the effect of direct exposure of the magnetic disk of a floppy to ultraviolet (UV) light?

I was thinking of the mold issue of floppies and UV light (UV-C) came to mind. As ultraviolet (UV) is a form of electromagnetic radiation and floppies use a magnetic disk for storage and I vaguely ...
7
votes
1answer
436 views

Where to find QICStream software for reading old QIC-150 tape?

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 ...
7
votes
2answers
503 views

What DOS software can I test a QIC-02 tape drive with?

I got a Wangtek 5150EQ tape drive that connects to a dumb (made of a bunch of 74-series logic chips) 8-bit ISA tape controller card. The controller card has a bunch of DIP switches which I used to ...
5
votes
1answer
239 views

Why does a DECtape have 576 blocks?

Information online states that a 18/36-bit DECtape holds 576 blocks. People claim it may be possible to add a few more blocks, but no more. Where does this number come from? Is there a hard limit ...
5
votes
1answer
283 views

Magnetic tape data preservation format

What 'virtual tape' image format is most suited for data preservation i.e. can store metadata like density and media type of original tape, presence of data past EOT marker, parity/ECC bits etc.?
4
votes
2answers
404 views

Was sneakernet a job description?

'Sneakernet' is a colloquial term for moving data by walking back and forth with a removable digital medium such as a floppy disk or tape in your hand. In 'IBM's 360 and Early 370 Systems', page 533, ...
4
votes
1answer
201 views

What information could be recovered from visualized magnetic information?

I was wondering how the data on a floppy disk physically looks like. With data stored on a magnetic disk obviously that isn't visible. The Wikipedia article on floppy disks however shows a beautiful ...
4
votes
2answers
754 views

How did IBM's "Mag Card" drive and magnetic media work?

In the 1970's IBM popularized an early word processing solution using their popular Selectric typewriter line and something called "Mag Card". This video demonstrates the system in operation. The ...
4
votes
1answer
264 views

Identifying and recovering programs from tapes

A couple of days ago, I was given some old tapes with programs written on them. However, I am having some trouble with them. I do not know what computer they were programed for. After recognising the ...
4
votes
2answers
463 views

Cost of tape backup in 1980

How much did it cost in 1980 to buy a tape drive capable of backing up 5 megabytes of data? Both for the drive itself and per tape? (If that exact data is unavailable, I'd be interested in something ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

Using VHS/MiniDV/CompactCassette as digital data storage? [closed]

How can VHS cassettes. MiniDV cassettes. Compact audio cassettes be used as digital data storage? Can the error correction strength be adjusted?
3
votes
1answer
475 views

Using audio tape recorders on non-personal computers?

A Soviet manual (1978) for an interactive integrated development system named ПУЛЬТ (translated as "console" or "[remote] control panel") developed for the BESM-6 mainframe contains a cryptic note: ...
2
votes
4answers
433 views

Cheapest way to store and load small dataset in the 80s?

An extra, costly floppy drive would overkill when transferring a page of letter, storing game level data, or distributing a piece of BASIC program, and non built-in ones have to be paid. A tape ...
2
votes
2answers
164 views

How plausible is this data corruption on an IBM 9-track tape?

Preamble For a while, I had a copy of a BESM-6 Pascal compiler which worked only on very simple programs, like "Hello, world", and would throw a division by 0 exception on anything more ...
2
votes
1answer
105 views

Which tape drives were the last to offer backward compatibility with QIC-150 Tape Cartridges?

I currently have some QIC-150 tape cartridges. These are the Imation DC6250 250 MB tapes. I understand that this came out in the late 1990's. I'd like to read these using a tape drive but want to find ...
2
votes
0answers
105 views

When and with which system or software was IBM's system of tape headers (VOLx, HDRx, ...) introduced?

Background: IBM compatible tape structure (*1) consists of a series of label blocks describing the volume and each file (Data Set). Essential the structure looks like this: VOL1..9 Volume header ...
0
votes
1answer
112 views

Could visual inspection of the magnetic disk be used to detect the quality (or damages) of a floppy disk?

The magnetic floppy disk is sometimes used as an (infrared) light filter as shown on some pictures below. That led me to think about the actual magnetic disk and if inconsistencies or damaged could be ...