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Looking for freeware app to do HP Dat72 Tape Drive Cleaning

Posted on 2013-01-08
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Last Modified: 2016-10-27
A customer of ours has an HP DAT-72 tape drive (an old model HP C7438A) and we are trying to create a cleaning regime, after recently having problems where several tapes all needed renewing at the same time in order for it to keep functioning. We have a brand new cleaning cartridge.

The customer has already invested in two types of backup software. Their HP DPE backup software tape-cleaning function is not working and we have abandoned trying to resolve that after trying all possible solutions. Their Acronis backup software has no tape-cleaning function.

HP do not seem to provide such software for free, so does anyone know of a public freeware software utility to clean this drive please - perhaps from an old HP Engineer's CD collection?
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Question by:ITTeam
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rindi earned 500 total points
ID: 38754546
I don't think I understand what you mean with "cleaning utility". With those tape drives I know, you clean it by manually inserting the cleaning tape, then waiting until it ejects, and then marking the tape with a pencil or pen in the box provided. When all the boxes are marked replace the cleaning tape. There is no software needed for this as it is a pure manual procedure, and the drive automatically ejects the tape when the cleaning cycle has finished.

You would only need some form of software if you were using a tape robot, to tell the robot which slot is used by the cleaning tape, and the interval at which that slot is loaded. But without a robot that doesn't apply.
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by:Scott C
ID: 38754744
Exactly rindi.  You just insert the cleaning tape and the drive automatically recognizes it as a cleaning tape, runs, and ejects the cleaning tape when finished.

As rindi said be sure to mark each time it is used and dispose it when it is all used up.
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Author Closing Comment

by:ITTeam
ID: 38755506
When tested as described here, indeed, the drive and cleaning cartridge behaved and sounded as if cleaning was taking place; then the cartridge was ejected.

With this in mind, it now seems probable that that during our tests we may have been cleaning the heads without knowing - and therefore our write problems stopped because the drive was clean and not because we used new tapes.

Also, HP say this model has "an internal automated self-cleaning head cleaner activated by excessive soft write errors and a time based threshold", so that may have been at work in the background, too.

Thank you very much to those who answered the question!   :-)
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LVL 88

Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 38756402
Apart from that you should consider replacing the tapes regularly. DAT tapes don't have a record of lasting very long. I never used more than 20 full write cycles. After that I archived them and used a new tape.
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