Damaged tapes? Missing data? Tape media unsupported by your current storage infrastructure? We can help!

No tape recovery is too big. Let our experts save you time recovering data from tape so you can do more important tasks.

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Tape recovery service

Whether you have lost your tape data by corruption, physical damage or software errors, we are here to help. We recover tape data in all types and formats and from all the different vendors. We get your legacy data accessible again.

Ontrack has unmatched expertise to solve the most complex data loss challenges. With 600.000+ recoveries and more than 35 years of experience, we are the world leaders in data recovery.

Tape data recovery


We recover from all backup tape media...

LTODLT, SuperDLT (sDLT), DLT s44 mm DDS, DAT
1/2" Open ReelAIT, S-AIT
QIC8 mm Tape Cartridges - Mammoth, M2, VXAAnd more...

… and backup software formats

Veritas / Symantec NetBackup IBM® TSM Tivoli Storage Manager CommVault® 
Veritas/Symantec BackupExec™ Veritas/Symantec EnterpriseVault Legato Networker HP Data Protector
Microsoft® Backup Catalogic® DPX™ 
UltraBac  AVAMAR / EMC
Microsoft Tape Format (MTF)
Linear Tape File System (LTFS)
Linux TAR And more...

… and different tape brands

HP Sony Maxwell
Fujifilm IBM Tandberg
Quantum Imation TDK
Exabyte And more...  

Join over a half million people and businesses who have trusted Ontrack to recover their data.

Common causes of tape failure and data loss

Even though tape has great longevity for data storage, a lot can happen to make the data on them inaccessible. Our engineering team has seen it all.

  • Corruption: operational error, expired tapes, mishandling of the tape, or accidental overwrites caused by inserting or partially formatting the wrong tape.
  • Physical Damage: broken tapes, dirty drives, and damage caused by fire, flood, or other natural disasters.
  • Ransomware or Malware:  (back-up) tapes erased or infected by the malware or ransomware.
  • Software Upgrades: inability for data on tape to be read by new applications or servers.

Some examples of successful recoveries include:

  • Quick-erased or partially overwritten data from LTO (Ultrium) tape media
  • Overwritten tapes (including DLT)
  • Snapped or burnt tapes
  • Tapes damaged by chemicals and smoke
  • Software problems or backup failures
  • Tapes immersed in flood water and mud
  • Intentional or accidental physical damage
Tape failure and data loss

Tape data recovery experts

A proven process for tape recovery

Our Ontrack Data Recovery R&D team has been building their knowledge of tape recovery and resources for over 25 years. Our process below has proven successful.

  • Tape recoveries are performed in dust-free cleanroom environments
  • Tapes and tape drives are carefully dismounted, examined, and processed
  • Proprietary tools are used to read and recover around any physically damaged areas
  • We are able to quickly image failing tapes to ensure the most complete data recovery possible

Warning: Attempting to recover tape data on your own, or through an inexperienced data recovery provider, may lead to further damage. Select a data recovery provider with the resources, expertise and experience you can trust.

Our Tape Recovery Process

Join over a half million people and businesses who have trusted Ontrack to recover their data.



Complimentary Consultation

With 24/7/365 phone support, our tape data recovery experts will assess your needs and discuss options.



Proof of Concept

Sample tape restoration is provided to validate service expectations.



Tape Processing

The client approves the project and tapes are processed according to client requirements.



Project Completion

Data is securely returned via FTP or on encrypted media.

Why Ontrack?

Managing archived data is critical to reducing risk and cost in your business.

By working with Ontrack, you’ll have peace of mind that you can access what you want, when you want it while keeping your archive costs as low as possible.

By trusting us to help manage your legacy data, you will not only be able to quickly react to requests, and better manage what data you keep and where you store it, but also reduce storage and maintenance costs.


Flexible Payment Options

We understand data recovery is often an unexpected need, which is why we offer extended payment plan options through Affirm. 

Learn more


Multiple Service Offerings

Ontrack offer's flexible service offerings to meet your unique needs and budgetary considerations. Our experts are on standby 24/7/365.

Recovery process


Complete Transparency

We want you to have control over your data recovery process. You'll know exactly what can be recovered before paying.

Customer portal


Unrivaled Global Expertise

Backed by the world’s largest R&D team, we have the knowledge and ability to address your unique data recovery needs.

Learn more

Forensic tape recovery services

Forensic Tape Recovery

Do you have an urgent restore request for upcoming litigation? We recover forensically sound data from tape media to satisfy litigation requests. Tapes contain a snapshot of data that was present on a system at a point in time.

This could include information that is no longer available in 'active' storage, especially if – in the anticipation of an investigation - efforts have been made by a suspect to manipulate or remove potentially incriminating evidence from the live system. However, this evidence can still be found via a forensic investigation of the tapes. We can recover forensically sound data quickly when urgent restore requests arise.

Other tape services

Our tape services consist of four straight-forward steps that make managing your archived tape an easy job.



Find out if your data is physically accessible with the Ontrack tape audit service. We can also provide visibility on what has been stored past its retention period.

Tape auditing



Whether you're migrating from your IT service provider or your tape formats are no longer supported, Ontrack can help migrate to a new system or storage medium.

Tape migration



Organizing archive tape data can seem like a daunting task. Let us catalog your legacy data efficiently and make it easier for you to manage.

Tape cataloging



Ontrack can help you quickly retrieve granular information from your tape archives ensuring you are able to comply with legal and government requests.

Tape restoration

Tape recovery FAQ

My backup tape has taken on water. What can I do?

My data is unreadable due to dust. What should I do?

My tape was damaged by fire. What can I do?

My band has fallen. What should I do?

How do I recover erased or deleted data from a tape?

How to deal with defective tapes

What if my tapes are unreliable?

What to do when a tape read/write error occurs

My tape has CRC errors. What can I do?

My tape drive is not working. How can I access the files?

Backing up to my tape is producing read/write errors. What can I do?

How can I recover/restore a damaged tape?

My tape restore failed. What can I do now?

My backup or tape operation verification failed. What can I do?

Tape recovery FAQs


Tape Case Studies

Ransomware Attack on Server and Backup Tapes Erased

Jun 29, 2020

The Client

A real state service company


A ransomware attack of a company server encrypted the Microsoft Dynamics 365 data and demanded payment. Recent backups of the server were stored on multiple LTO-6 backup tapes, which had been erased by the malware. 


After assessing the extent of the ransomware attack, Ontrack engineers identified the company’s backup tapes as the best option for data recovery—even though the malware had erased them. 23 LTO-6 backup tapes from the backup library were sent to the Ontrack office in Böblingen, Germany. Working in conjunction with the R&D department in the United Kingdom, Ontrack developed a custom solution to recover the data from the erased backup tapes.


Ontrack restored 46TB of data from 18 of the LTO-6 tapes. Due to the type of attack on the tapes, Ontrack had to repair the logical damage, shipping the data and tapes separately back to the customer.


Start your data recovery now with a free consultation.

Contact our team of experts. Ontrack accommodates everyone – from the largest government or enterprise organization to an individual who may have lost their digital photos and everyone in between.

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What is the main reason for your data loss?

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Articles about tape and tape recovery


Thursday, September 12, 2019 by Tom McCaffrey

Correctly managing your data archive is essential to ensure you are compliant. Read these top tips to ensure your tape archive is future proof.

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Thursday, May 16, 2019 by Tilly Holland

The tape is still considered one of the best storage solution for long-term archiving. In this blog, we answer some of the most popular tape related questions.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2018 by Michael Nuncic

Hardly any other storage medium is talked about so passionately. No, it is not the Cloud, but about the dinosaur of storage technology, the magnetic tape. Sometimes it is said that this medium and its technology are close to extinction, sometimes it is said that it will be in use for more decades to come.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2018 by Michael Nuncic

The tape has been used as both a means for backing up data and archiving data over the years. In this blog, we explore which it is actually better at.

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Thursday, December 14, 2017 by rstantonhorne

Contrary to popular opinion, magnetic tapes are not dead and still have a role in modern IT. Many businesses that do not use an archiving solution store their backup data on tapes. Businesses choose this option because it's cost effective. The tapes are then kept onsite at a company facility or at an external tape storage provider.

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Thursday, February 9, 2017 by Michael Nuncic

Tape, as an archive and data storage medium, has been around for over 60 years now and is still widely common companies of all sizes. Tape has its advantages - durability and low cost compared to other media - but that can also be its drawback. Over the years companies tend to change tape formats, as well as tape backup solutions.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2016 by Milagros Gamero

Change is rarely comfortable, but as Winston Churchill said, “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.” In business, there can be many reasons for organizations to modify or even revolutionize the way that they operate, some through choice, and some that are imposed upon them. From a data center point of view, this often involves the transfer of information from one medium to another, and regularly encompasses the need to recover data from backup tapes and tape libraries.

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Friday, April 8, 2016 by The Data Experts

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Thursday, October 22, 2015 by Stuart Burrows

It can be tempting to think of your tape archives as out of sight, out of mind. Here's why reviewing them from time to time isn't necessarily a bad idea.

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