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See the content of a LTO tape

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We backup our work projects using a LTO tape drive and Retrospect 9. Is there a way to scan a tape to see its content? In a terminal maybe?


We had this backup computer using Retrospect 6 but it's dead now. We bought a new computer and new LTO tape drive (went from LTO 3 to 5). I am trying to figure a way to rebuild an old catalog, but by splitting its members (tapes) into different catalogs. The original one had over a hundred members (bad idea) and rebuilding the whole thing would take a couple lifetimes.


I would love to be able to see the content of the tapes because we don't need all of our old projects. Maybe I could skip a few tapes and save some time that way.


Thank you!

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1. find a copy of retro6

2. find a user who has r6 and email them the catalogs. they could tell you what's on the tapes.


i might be able to help you with option 2.


max at redfacilities dot com

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Retrospect uses a proprietary file format, so the data on the tape will be unintelligible to anything but Retrospect.


You can't really split an existing backup set/media set into multiple sets; all the members are marked with the name of the set, which cannot be changed. A clumsy workaround would be to rebuild the catalog using a few members and then move this catalog to another location; say, a folder titled "My_Media_Set members 1-5." You would then repeat the rebuild, skipping the tape members already rebuilt. A danger is that all of these partially-rebuilt catalogs necessarily all have exactly the same name, so the only way you would have to track which one is which is by location on your hard drive volume.


I think a better solution would be to buy some legacy iron on eBay that will run Retro 6, restore all the project files you are likely to need in the future to an external hard drive volume, and then back up those files using Retro 9.


One beef I have always had with every version of Retrospect is that you cannot use Retrospect to determine which files are on a given media set member. Clearly this information is in the catalog; it just can't be accessed through the user interface. (The ability to do this has long been high on my list of suggested improvements.) Our workaround has been to mark each tape member with the date and time that the member was first written to, so we can use the backup date listed in the catalog to determine which member holds a particular file. This system worked especially well in Retro 6 due to the various ways that version enables the user to view files in the catalog; unfortunately, Retro 8/9's single option for viewing files is much more clunky and tedious to use.

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