It's a good idea to clean the drive once a month. Michaelk is correct, all you need to do is insert the tape, it will eject when the cleaning process is complete. The host's OS dosen't matter, actually it dosen't even need to be connected to a host to be cleaned. The drive will notify you if it needs cleaning, via a certain sequence of flashing LED's, the manual should specify this. This will happen if the ECC rate increases dramatically, for example if you run a tape with debris on the media, the "clean me" message will be displayed. The thing to remember is a backup is useless if you can't restore from the tape, and waiting 6 months between cleanings will degrade the head, so the drive may not be able to read a tape that was created before the head got messed up. The rate between cleanings acutally depends on the hours of actual use. A drive that has average use should be cleaned about once a month.