How to Save Files From a PC to a VHS Tape

In ancient times, this was a cheap way to store data.

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Aug 14 2017, 2:41pm

In a detailed unboxing and demo of data backup to tape, YouTuber Lazy Game Reviews shows us how to move files from a Windows PC to a VHS tape just because he can.

Like the $20,000 monster-computer he showed off recently, this is an example of 90s technology that was bulky, slightly clumsy, but ultimately worked.

He uses the Danmere Backer tape backup system from the mid-'90s. At the time, this was an appealing method for creating data backups because of its low price (the Backer sold for around $60 and tapes cost about $2) and simplicity: Just plug it into a computer and VHS player, select what you want to copy over to the tape, and hit "record."

That's the theory, at least. His attempt on a machine running Windows 95 failed. It took switching to another machine running Windows 3.1 to get it to write successfully to the tape.

He took the whole disk drive—around 80 MB of data—and put it all on a goddamn VHS tape. Everything was preserved in the move, except for one small file that failed to write correctly.

In case you're wondering what Windows 3.1 files look like when they're played back on a VCR, it's mostly snow and static.