Besides requiring drivers, LTO drives themselves rely on firmware. As a LTO drive is basically a computer, consider the firmware to be its operation system. This firmware is just as much under active development as are the drivers, and should therefore not ignored when troubleshooting. When you run into issue, but all drivers are installed correctly, make sure your firmware is up to date.

Note: firmware is vendor-specific. Most modern LTO drives are made by IBM. For Tandberg drives and older Quantum or HPE drives, please contact your reseller.

Update Notifications

Canister for Windows does not support this feature, yet.

As of Canister for Mac 24.1, Preflight Checks will notify users of IBM and Quantum drives when a new LTO firmware is available.

Updating Quantum firmware

Most modern Quantum drives are actually IBM drives, so you can use the ITDT process described below to update your firmware.

Updating HPE firmware

Colloquially known as HP, your drive may be either a real HP drive or a rebranded IBM. Preflight Checks will show you the firmware version number which will hold the clue to being an IBM drive or not; if it's four characters long with the first one a letter, chances are it's an IBM. If not, call your reseller as obtaining firmware for older drives is a drag. If it's IBM, you can use continue to read along.

Updating IBM firmware

To update your IBM LTO drive's firmware, first you install IBM Tape Diagnostic Tool (aka. ITDT), then update the firmware.

Installing up ITDT

Use the steps below to install and run ITDT:

  1. Open, then enter this single command followed by [Enter]:


  1. An alert will open. Click Cancel.

  1. You'll first need to allow the installation. Go to System Preferences > Security & Privacy > General.

  1. Click the Allow Anyway button (no need to click the Lock icon 🔒 first).

  2. Go back to Terminal, then enter the same command again followed by [Enter]: ~/Downloads/install_itdt_macos

  3. Another alert opens, this time click Open.

  1. Go back to Terminal, and input this command followed by [Enter]: ~/ITDT/itdt

  2. Type L, hit [Enter], then I (to accept the ITDT license agreement) and again [Enter]. ITDT is now set up.

Updating the firmware

Next, the firmware itself:

1. Download the latest firmware for your drive.

For IBM LTO drive firmware, Qualstar maintain a convenient list here: For Quantum LTO drive firmware, use this page:

If your LTO drive is housed inside a Thunderbolt device (i.e. mLogic, MagStor, Symply, OWC) use the SAS versions, not the FC (Fiber Channel) versions.

2. Move the downloaded firmware file into the input directory inside the directory containing ITDT.

On macOS the default location is ~/ITDT/input/.

Not sure how to get to that folder? In Finder, hit Shift-Command-H.

Next, close ALL apps you use for LTO purposes, and unmount any tapes.

3. ITDT should still be running from the installation steps above. Now enter the following commands to open the connection to your tape device, and upload the firmware:

  • u, then [Enter]

  • 1 (one, not el), then [Enter]

  • If you have just one tape device, tape0 is your device name so just hit [Enter] four times.

If you have multiple LTOs connected, the easiest way to make sure you're updating the correct LTO device is to power off the other units. Alternatively, Mac users can look up device SCSI ID's in System Information > SAS. In this example screenshot, the device ID is 0:

  • 71, then [Enter].

  • If you properly copied the firmware into the input folder, you'll see a view like this listing your firmware file in slot 0:

  • Select the firmware with 0 and an x will appear next to it.

  • Continue with C , then [Enter] and wait until done.

  • A successful upgrade will have a PASSED status:

  • Hit [Enter] to return to the Tape Util menu.

4. When back in the Tape Util menu close the connection to the tape:

  • Type 2, then [Enter] twice.

5. Now you can quit ITDT: q then [Enter]

6. You can safely close ITDT.

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