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Physically Damaged Tapes

If the tape containing the data you require has become entangled within the drive mechanism:

DO NOT ATTEMPT TO REMOVE THE TAPE FROM THE DRIVE
Unless the drive cannot be removed from it's location.

Ask yourself the following questions:
  • What is more valuable the drive or the data on the tape?
  • Can I trust a drive that has physically damaged a tape?

If the tape drive is a standalone unit or can be removed from it's location, it is better to send the complete drive unit containing the media rather than to risk further unnecessary damage to the tape.

Our tape data recovery engineers have been dealing with damaged tape media for over 20 years. With their knowledge and expertise they are capable of repairing damaged tape media so that access to the data on the tape can be achieved.

Once all the recoverable data has been read from the tape it is then possible, using Altirium's tape recovery software, to extract the original files.

Data Recovery from Damaged Tapes

With physically damaged tapes it is often quite clear to see the damage to the media. Sometimes however, small unnoticeable physical damage such as creasing can occur part way into the recording area of the tape and be unnoticed until you attempt to read or write from that particular section of the tape. Creasing to the tape media often occurs with excessive tape use or mechanical problems in the tape drive mechanism.

Tape damage due to excessive use, usually appear near the beginning of the tape as this is the most frequently accessed area of the tape. A poor storage or working environment can also cause media related problems.

Depending on the type of tape or backup format, any physical damaged to the tape can be catastrophic and prevent access to data recorded beyond the point the damage occurs.

When the backup software encounters a damaged section of tape, in the majority of cases it will stop and report a media error. Data beyond the point of the flaw, often cannot be accessed even though the files your require might be perfectly intact.

At Altirium, we use our own data recovery tools to read all the recoverable data from the damaged tape. We can then analyse the data to locate the files you require.

Media flaw on helical scan tape

Recoverable data from helical scan recording with a media flaw.

Media flaw on serpentine tape

Recoverable data from serpentine recording with a media flaw.


The illustrations show the impact of physical media damage such as a crease, that spans the full width of the tape, can have on the different types of recording, helical scan and serpentine. On tape that use a helical scan recording method, such as AIT or DAT, once beyond the media flaw, the remaining data on tape is usually fully recoverable. With serpentine recording however, damage to the data occurs in multiple places as the read heads pass over the same area of tape multiple times.

Last Updated (Friday, 05 June 2009 08:49)

 
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