[TUHS] OT: Need help getting old 9 track tapes read

Dennis Boone drb at msu.edu
Sun Apr 28 21:12:01 AEST 2019

 > Scott Lee, who worked with me on the Georgia Tech Software Tools
 > Subystem for Pr1me Computers, recently unearthed two tapes with some
 > version of that software.  These may be the only copies extant
 > anywhere.


 > | I was cleaning out the basement of my house. They're 35 years old,
 > | but they've never been left in the heat or anything. I opened one
 > | of them up and checked the tape and it's not self-sticky or
 > | anything. The odds that they're readable is slim, because old
 > | 9-track bits tended to bleed through each other. You were supposed
 > | to spin through the tape every couple of years to make them last
 > | longer. That's obviously not happened.

I've read stuff that old that was stored in worse conditions.  9-track
is surprisingly robust.  Humidity can be worse on the 80s-era media,
aggravating the "sticky shed" problem.  There are several methods for
dealing with that, including low temp baking, chemical treatments,
stripping coating off the back side of the tape, etc.  I use a low-tech
baking solution at home.  Most methods give you a limited number of
reads over a fairly short time period.

 > Dennis Boone & Bill Gunshannon (are you on this list?) - I may ask
 > you to contribute $$ towards this once I know more.

Let me know.


More information about the TUHS mailing list