Reading Travan 8GB Data Tapes

Discussion in 'Dumping and Backing Up Your Games and Prototypes' started by Kao, Jul 20, 2017.

  1. Kao

    Kao Gutsy Member

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    Hey all,

    I've got several 8GB Travan data tapes (Imation brand) retrieved from a game developer's old archives from the early 2000s.

    For reference, they look like this:
    [​IMG]

    I'd like to go about reading them and dumping the contents. More modern Travan tape readers that have USB connection are all rated for higher max capacity tapes (e.g. 40 GB). Many of the 8 GB readers that I've found are older and would either have to be installed inside a machine, or use outdated parallel port connections.

    Any tape drive experts here? Can I use a higher capacity Travan drive to read these older tapes, or do I buy one of the old drives and get an old PC that still has the old ports?
     
  2. Borman

    Borman Digital Games Curator

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    Certain tape drives have backwards compatibility, don't know if that is one. I found New Old Stock drives for my needs that did the job. The challenge will be figuring out what software was used to back things up originally
     
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  3. Kao

    Kao Gutsy Member

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    Thanks for the info.

    Hmm.. So if I find a drive that comes with an install CD/drivers, that may not be enough to read the tapes? There may be some other software dependency on top of all that?
     
  4. Borman

    Borman Digital Games Curator

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    Yeah, there are tons of different backup softwares, and they aren't necessarily compatible with one another.
     
  5. Kao

    Kao Gutsy Member

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    *sigh* Why would anyone make things this complicated?
    Guess I'll just have to try my luck with this drive that I found for sale and hope for the best.

    Thanks again for this information.
     
  6. Borman

    Borman Digital Games Curator

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  7. copywizard

    copywizard <B>Site Supporter 2014</B>

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    Hope this helps a bit but readers for these kind of tapes normally use the SCSI this is a older connection but readily available on sites as ebay.

    most of this older version of SCSI internal cards use the older PCI interface this is also very nice because..

    you can buy a older pc from the pentium 4 age for like 50 dollar? buy a SCSI PCI card on ebay for a few bucks and get the same SCSI cable and SCSI terminator (if needed) and of course the tape reader and your off to a good start!

    the next problem is that when you insert a tape (any tape) into a tape drive normally nothing happens its not like a USB drive of HDD that windows will find it and address a drive letter to it so you could browse the contents of the tape.

    normally tapes are used for backup purposes because they are cheap and large in size (storage space) and have a low failure rate if stored correctly!

    This also means because a tape is normally not readable by a normal windows or linux system you will need specialist tape backup software.
    There are like a 100+ software suppliers that have backup software available most of them are very bulky an expensive.
    Next to that you may not know the software that was used this is most likely possible to be found in the header of the tape and there are tools for linux that can lookup this header and you may find more info in there?

    the next thing is you will need to find the version of the software used this is very important because if a backup on the tape is made with version 1.x.x and you try to access the tape using version 3.x.x most likely this will not work you will have to find a working version of the exact software that was used to make the backup.

    i hope this clears this up a bit? i would suggest to find a local tape expert that can help you? that would be easier and faster then trying your self?

    p.s. please don,t get discouraged with my write up and throw them away ? they could contain valuable information!
     

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