6. Third Party Utilities
6.1 FTAPE (SCSI Tape Test Utility)
FTAPE is a command-line utility that allows to easily test the proper functioning of a Windows SCSI
attached tape drive to make sure it's working properly before trying to add it to the Hercules device
configuration. It supports functions like read and write, random or fixed-sized blocks of random data, fast-
forward to the next or previous tape mark, back-space and forward-space blocks, write tape marks, locate
blocks, etc. It will also display the data block it reads in either ASCII or EBCDIC to examine the data on
an already existing tape.
It requires to already have the tape drive properly installed on the Windows system so that Windows can
'see' it (i.e. the SCSI adapter and SCSI tape device drivers are already installed such that device 'Tape0'
appears in the Windows device list). When Windows can see the drive and FTAPE can access it, then the
drive should be usable by Hercules.
Usually any “true” (non-ASPI) SCSI Tape device driver can be used, regardless of the tape drive model
since all SCSI tape devices are required to support a minimum set of SCSI commands. The only ex-
ception found is IBM’s device drivers. They are purposely coded to only work with their own tape drives
Also note that while you need to use a non-ASPI driver in order for the drive to work with Hercules, that
sometimes the ASPI software that comes with a tape drive also includes a device-driver for the tape drive
itself, such that by installing whatever ASPI software may come with the tape drive, the needed non-ASPI
device-driver also gets installed. In other words, some ASPI software packages include not only a control
DLL that allows their software to talk to the tape drive via ASPI, but also includes the necessary device-
driver for the tape drive itself.
Further note that FTAPE does not currently support doing any type of I/O to the medium changer device
(i.e. the cartridge loader). It is no problem if the drive has one, it just cannot be directly accessed by
FTAPE or Hercules.
FTAPE [-f filename]