What does

mt -f /dev/st0 erase

do exactly with a (LTO-6) tape drive at /dev/st0?

It takes hours and seems to write many times. Does it write random data on the tape several times to delete the contents in a secure way? Will it delete the magnetic servo tracks?

  • 2
    With QIC tapes it would basically degauss the tape, i.e. not write random data but use a alternating current through the head to wipe the magnetism. It would sometimes help if writing to a tape gave errors. I have no experience what happens with LTO when erasing. – wurtel Apr 23 '15 at 7:30
  • I think it is doing so called long erase - writes zeros to the whole tape. I think with LTO it wouldn't degauss the tape as per wikipedia: Using a bulk eraser (or otherwise exposing the cartridge to a strong magnetic field) will erase the servo tracks along with the data tracks, rendering the cartridge unusable. – taliezin Apr 23 '15 at 13:56

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