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Commands Reference, Volume 5

tapechk Command


Performs consistency checking on the streaming tape device.


tapechk [ -? ] Number1 Number2


The tapechk command performs rudimentary consistency checking on an attached streaming tape device. Some hardware malfunctions of a streaming tape drive can be detected by simply reading a tape. The tapechk command provides a way to perform tape reads at the file level.

Because the streaming tape drive cannot backspace over physical data blocks or files, the tapechk command rewinds the tape to its starting position prior to each check. This command either checks data for the next number of files specified by the Number1 parameter or skips the next number of files specified by the Number2 parameter. If you do not specify any parameters, the tapechk command rewinds the tape and checks only the first physical block.

The tapechk command uses the device in the TAPE environment variable if it is defined. Otherwise, the default tape device is /dev/rmt0.

Note: The backup command allows you to archive files selectively or as an entire file system. It writes data as a continuous stream terminated by a file mark, regardless of the number of files specified. The tapechk command perceives each stream of data as a single file, which is important when you specify numeric parameters.

Although you can use the tapechk command on any streaming tape cartridge, it is primarily designed for checking tapes written by the backup command.


-? Explains the format of the tapechk command.

Note: If you specify the -? flag, it must be specified before the Number1 and Number2 parameters.

Exit Status

This command returns the following exit values:

0 Successful completion.
>0 An error occurred.


To check the first three files on a streaming tape device, enter:

tapechk 3


/usr/sbin/tapechk Contains the tapechk command.

Related Information

The backup command.

The rmt special file.

Tape Drives in AIX 5L Version 5.2 System Management Concepts: Operating System and Devices.

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