How to recover data from a QIC-80/QIC113 tape when the password is lost


This page is to help those, who might have run into the same problem I have.

In 1995 I used to make backups with the only real alternative available then, inexpensive tape drives, attached to the floppy disc controller.

After several computer changes through the years and some apartment moves I noticed I had lost some of data on my hard drives. This is when I thought of my old almost forgotten tape backups from many years ago.

I reinstalled the old drive, found a working backup program and... the tapes were password protected. And of course I had forgotten my old password.

Well, I obviously was able to get at the data or you wouldn't be reading this page. In the end it's almost funny how many things I tried, seeing how easy it is, once you know how.


These instructions should work for any tape formatted with the QIC-80 standard. It was tested with DC 2120, 1/4" Mini Data Cartridges. The instructions might apply to similar standards and to tape drives not using the floppy disc controller, but this isn't tested.


The one thing you will of course need is a drive that can read your tapes. If you don't have your old one anymore, maybe you can get lucky on ebay.

Attaching the drive to the floppy disc controller should work even in a new machine.


Step by Step



I get the feeling whoever came up with this password "protection" followed the old and tried security by obfuscation scheme. Anyway, I hope this article was helpful or at least interesting for you.

This page has been accessed times.

Send Email to Leo

Created Mar 21, 2005
Last updated Mar 25, 2005