You need to prepare the tape or diskette before you back up anything to tape or diskette. This process is called initialization.
To initialize a tape, run the Initialize Tape (INZTAP) command. Here is an example:
INZTAP DEV(TAP01) NEWVOL(BACKUP) NEWOWNID(ABC_CORP) + VOL(*MOUNTED) CHECK(*NO) DENSITY(*DEVTYPE) + CODE(*EBCDIC) ENDOPT(*REWIND) CLEAR(*NO)
DEV(TAP01) indicates that the tape to be initialized has been mounted on tape device TAP01. You must make sure that the tape drive is online and that the tape is not write-protected.
NEWVOL(BACKUP) gives the tape a new volume ID of backup. Volume IDs can have a maximum of six characters.
NEWOWNID(ABC_CORP) provides an owner name for this tape (such as your company name).
VOL(*MOUNTED) means that the INZTAP will initialize any tape that happens to be mounted on the drive, regardless of its current volume ID. For example, if you specify VOL(XYZ), the tape would be initialized only if it already had a volume ID of XYZ.
CHECK(*NO) indicates that the system is not to check for active files on the tape. If the tape contains data, the data is ignored and the initialization continues. You can leave the default value of *YES if you would rather be warned that the tape contains data.
DENSITY(*DEVTYPE) indicates that the tape should be initialized to whatever density is supported by the tape drive. Sometimes you can force other values, indicated in bits per inch (bpi), such as 1,600, 3,200, or as high as 43,200.
CODE(*EBCDIC) means that the tape is initialized for EBCDIC backups. You can use the value *ASCII if you will be using that tape to restore on another system that supports ASCII.
ENDOPT(*REWIND) indicates that the tape should be rewound after the initialization is complete. You also can indicate *UNLOAD, in which case the tape is rewound and unloaded.
CLEAR(*NO) states that the tape drive is not to delete the tape of its current contents, which saves time. You also can specify *YES if you want the tape drive to erase the tape for you, but the tape will have to go all the way to the end and back.
If you have a used tape and you want to erase it quickly, the best method is to use a degausser, an electromagnetic device that erases magnetic media. Then reinitialize the tape using INZTAP CLEAR(*NO). The initialization process takes just a few seconds. You can obtain degaussers from computer supply or mail-order stores.