Description of the errors detected by TIP.EXE
In the case when the drive is absolutely unable to access any of the four Z-tracks of the cartridge, it gives a message about the failure of the Z-tracks. In this case, ALL information is already lost forever!
The most frequent message that the TIP.EXE program issues at the end of the test is: “This drive and cartridge are in good condition, but perhaps not in the best condition.”
The following errors are issued:
Irregular (Soft) errors. These errors appear and disappear when working with the program. These irregular errors are the result of small defects in the recording media, or changes in environmental parameters affecting the disc, such as vibration, changes in interaction with surrounding magnetic fields, and humidity. Damaged sectors can be re-registered or compensated by the built-in disk technology, allowing you to correct errors.
Firm errors are irregular errors that have become so large that the drive is “worried” about its inability to continue recovering and correcting errors. When a sector is found in which a lot of errors were found during testing, it is deleted from further use, and the data is moved to a spare safe sector. A “persistent error” message is displayed. This automatic sectorial data movement, reported by the program as a “persistent error”, is completely normal behavior for all cartridges, unless it starts to repeat too often.
Systematic (Hard) errors are a problem. These are sectors that have passed directly from the “restored” state to the “unreadable” one. At the same time, the data in the sector cannot be read and will be lost forever. A working cartridge should never have any Hard errors.
A moderate number of irregular errors should always be expected and this is not yet a cause for alarm. Irregular errors will always be present. Only the identification of a large number of them should cause concern.
Excessive irregular errors or repeated persistent and systematic errors can also be an early indication of a cartridge malfunction.
In the second situation, after the first pass of the test, you must run the program again. If additional persistent errors do not appear, you can safely assume that the first pass has actually found and eliminated several defective sectors.
If, when you restart the test, several new persistent or systematic errors appear (which the previous test “missed”), then you must conclude that this drive and / or cartridge begins to show early signs of “death clicks”.