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How do I save time erasing tapes in Linux?

Views: 26399
Votes: 13
Posted: 11 Jul, 2007
Every time I run an erase command using MT in Linux, the process takes hours.  Is there a way to make this faster?

Under Linux, when you run the erase command, it performs a long erase function which can take several hours, especially on todays larger tapes such as LTO .  If you would like to run an erase on a tape under Linux, but don't have the time it takes to complete a full erase, you can run the following command that gives you a short erase.

From a terminal window, run:

$ sudo dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/st0 bs=512 count=1
 
This will run the equivalent of an erase on the tape by writing null blocks to the first 512k of the tape, thus making the tape appear to be deleted and saving hours of time.
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