Zip Drive

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Newmacer2, Jul 17, 2012.

  1. Newmacer2 macrumors regular

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    #1
    I need to buy a used external IOmega zip drive so that I can transfer files from my old zip disks to CDs. There are lots of them out there on Craigslist, Ebay, etc., but I'm not sure which ones are compatible with my iMac. Any help or suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.
     
  2. SandboxGeneral Moderator

    SandboxGeneral

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    #2
    Take a look at this chart on iomega.com. It should help you in your quest to find a compatible Zip Drive.
     
  3. blueroom macrumors 603

    blueroom

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    #3
    Those Zip Drives were very unreliable when new, I'd bet the disks are most likely unreadable today.
     
  4. SandboxGeneral Moderator

    SandboxGeneral

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    #4
    My experience with Zip disks were always good; I never had a bad one. Now floppy disks on the other hand.....
     
  5. CylonGlitch macrumors 68030

    CylonGlitch

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    #5
    I've had dozens of them fail. Especially over time, they just became unreadable. I seriously doubt any ZIP disk would be readable today.

    And, watch out for the Click of Death, that thing, whatever it was, was the first and only hardware virus that I can think of. Start with a bad drive, put a ZIP in it and that disk becomes unreadable. Take that disk and put it into a good drive, and now that drive will corrupt every disk put into it.

    The delay to fix this bug, and even the outright refusal to admit it happens tanked the company hard. Eventually they offered to replace the drives, but the replacement drives weren't any better and if you had ONE bad disk, you were screwed.
     
  6. SandboxGeneral Moderator

    SandboxGeneral

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    #6
    Oh yes, the click of death. I never had that happen to me, but I knew all about it. It wasn't a hardware virus, it was a defect in the drive.

    Steve Gibson from the Gibson Research Corporation has a whole bit and even a TV appearance on the Screen Savers.

     
  7. chown33 macrumors 604

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    #7
    Nice summary there.

    When a disk starts shedding oxide, it becomes unreadable, causing the drive to retry the same area of the disk. As the disk spins while shedding oxide, it tends to burnish that oxide onto the drive heads. That burnished oxide is much harder to remove, and causes subsequent disks to become unreadable (or marginally readable). The burnished oxide on the heads also tends to damage the surface of subsequent disks. And the disk that was originally shedding oxide gets inserted into another drive, where it sheds more oxide, burnishing another set of heads, etc. It was the closest thing to a hardware "virus" I can remember.

    In olden days, when hard disks were stacks of removable 14" disks in a drive the size and shape of a washing machine, a head-crash could do something similar, only much more quickly. One head would hit one platter, and plow up a bunch of oxide. That oxide would then circulate very rapidly withing the confines of the platter stack, and crash other heads in a cascade.
     
  8. CylonGlitch macrumors 68030

    CylonGlitch

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    #8
    I should have been more clear, I know it wasn't hardware virus but it sure the hell acted like one. And yes, you can, 100% sure spread it from one zip drive to another. We had a few dozen of those drives at my office. When the CoD came in from a zip drive, within a few days EVERY single ZIP drive in the company not only had the click, but would start corrupting disks itself. Not one drive survived, we ended up having to throw them ALL away. They may say it would start the second drive clicking but not make it corrupt; that might be true at first, but it most certainly did after some usage. I would argue that in itself it didn't cause the problem but it definitely brought it around very rapidly.
     
  9. blueroom macrumors 603

    blueroom

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    #9
    Almost all magnetic and optical media can suffer from bit-rot. I had no luck with 100mb-250mb Zip drives both media & hardware.
     
  10. Fishrrman macrumors G3

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    #10
    "Those Zip Drives were very unreliable when new, I'd bet the disks are most likely unreadable today."

    I bought a ZIP 100 SCSI drive when they were just out, seems like it was back around 1995 or so.

    I'm typing this on my trusty PowerMac g4/MDD which I've had since 2004. It has an SCSI card installed, but I don't use it any more.

    Recently, I decided to try my old ZIP drive, to "clean out" the old remaining ZIP disks I still had left.

    They all still mounted, even though they hadn't been used in years. In fact, THE VERY FIRST ZIP disk I ever used from 16 years ago mounts up just fine.

    Just my experience. YMMV.
     
  11. iMacFarlane macrumors 65816

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    #11
    I had a zip 100 drive back in the day. Thought it was great, but that was prior to plug 'n play, so the Windows driver nightmare was always there whenever you wanted to take your data with you.

    Never lost data, but I really only used the things for about 2 years.

    Biggest problem I would see to using one now is that they came out before USB existed. Mine was an old RS-232 style PC serial port connector. Mmmmmm. Slow.
     
  12. Newmacer2 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #12
    Thanks

    Thanks everyone. I'm thinking you all just saved me a bunch of grief. I'd really like to get back those files, but it's not worth risking my Mac. Thanks again.
     
  13. chown33 macrumors 604

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    #13
    I don't think there's any risk to your Mac, unless the zip drive requires installing driver software*. The main risk is to your wallet; you could spend money, get a working drive, and still be unable to read the data.

    As to "which drive", does your iMac have Firewire or USB? Get a drive that connects with Firewire or USB, whichever one your iMac has.


    * Although the IOMega website says "driver software" is provided on optical media, it's conceivable that no drivers are needed, if the zip drive supports normal USB mass-storage protocols. I would try connecting the drive without installing drivers first.
     
  14. samh macrumors 6502

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    #14
    Be that as it may, there will never be a better time to attempt to get that data archived than right now. It's only going to get worse. So, better to try now than wait even longer.
     

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