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How to dispose of old Travan tape cartridges

Clueless in Seattle
Occasional Contributor

How to dispose of old Travan tape cartridges

A while back my external HP Colorado 8GB tape drive stopped working. It kept giving me messages saying I had the wrong type of media inserted. Even though I was using the same cartridges I had always used.

So I finally just broke down and bought an external 320GB hard drive that I'm now using for back up. It was a stretch for me to buy the new external drive, because I'm trying to scrape by on a very small monthly Social Security disability benefit. And I worry about what I'm going to do when the external HD up and dies on me. Then what?

But, for now, my problem is how to dispose of my old C4425 HP 8GB Travan Data Cartridges. I've got about twenty of them.

I'd like to be able to erase them and pass them on to someone who may be able to use them (as unlikely as it may be that anyone still uses these nowadays). But, how can I erase them, if I can't get the tape drive to recognize them?

So, if I can't find a way to erase them, then, could I bulk erase them and then take them to a computer recycling facility? If so, what could I use to bulk erase them. Would one of those old tape recorder head degausser do the job. I used to have one but I'll be danged if I can find it now.

I guess, as a last resort, I could manually, disassemble them with a screwdriver, one at a time (argh!), and pull the tape out and toss it into the garbage and try to recycle the remaining parts.

I'd be grateful for any suggestions you guys can come up with for a secure, socially responsible and environmentally sound way to dispose of these tapes.

Will in Seattle
a.k.a. "Clueless"
Clueless in Seattle
Occasional Contributor

Re: How to dispose of old Travan tape cartridges

I don't believe I ever got a reply to this query.

I've still got a box full of these old Traven Data Catridges that I'd like to responsibly dispose of.

So, I'd be grateful for advice on how to delete the data from them. The problem is that when I put them into the tape drive, I would get a message saying something like "unrecognized media."

Respected Contributor

Re: How to dispose of old Travan tape cartridges

An audio tape degausser is unlikely to be strong enough to securely erase the tapes. If you know anyone in IT, it's possible they have a degausser that they could run your tapes through; if not your second option would be to find someone else with one of the drives and do a format. Barring that, I'd say destroy them -- the cost of trying to clean them for re-use will be prohibitively high, I'd guess.

Oh, other possibilities:
- See if there's a computer user group in Seattle; perhaps someone there has a drive and needs the tapes, and would be willing to let you be there when they erase the tapes (plus, you might make a new friend)
- See if someone on or might have a drive they could sell cheap or give you... or again, might need some tapes and be willing to let you watch while they were formatted.
Liberty breeds responsibility; Government breeds dependence