Zip drives and OS X 10.6+ ?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by RedCroissant, Oct 13, 2014.

  1. RedCroissant Suspended

    Aug 13, 2011
    Hello all,

    I am in a nostalgic phase and was wondering if Zip drives were still compatible with modern iterations of OS X. I know that some people have been able to use them with Windows 7 and such, but I was just wondering before I went ahead with this purchase. Thanks for the help!
  2. ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Feb 10, 2008
    Were Zip drives SCSI? I have some old Zip drives, and have used a SCSI to USB converter with OS 10.6.8 running on a 2008 MacPro... but haven't touched it in years. Seems like anything SCSI would hook up just fine through the, I think omega, converter.
  3. RedCroissant thread starter Suspended

    Aug 13, 2011
    They were for a while but then iomega came out with USB and FW versions. SO they should be compatible and checking on the iomega support page/technical specs page for the various ZIP drives, it says that the drives are compatible with OS X 10.1 and greater.

    So I would assume that they are, but I think the best bet would be to go with the FW 250 or 750 to have the better chance at compatibility.
  4. orestes1984 macrumors 65816

    Jun 10, 2005
    So long as its a USB or Firewire device it will plug right in. The drivers will already be there at OS and kernel level, and it should just work out of the box. If it's SCSI you might have a problem finding a suitable modern SCSI card with the right connector on it. I think the older ones, if you're going back as far as PPC were 30pin SCSI, but you might be able to adapt it with a USB cable.
  5. CalfCanuck, Oct 20, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2014

    CalfCanuck macrumors 6502a

    Nov 17, 2003
    APEX tech in the UK might help

    A few years ago I needed to access some data on an old DAT tape created with Retropect (created circa 1994 on OS 7) and I had tossed my SCSI DAT reader decades ago. While I was located in San Francisco, I found a company in the UK that was reasonable and offered to access the data. Mailed them the DAT tapes, and they pulled it off and sent me back the data on a DVD as requested.

    So if you don't have access to a ZIP drive near you, try shooting them an email.

    Edit - I'm assuming that you are trying to recover some valuable old data, rather than using these clunkers as a modern storage medium...
  6. RedCroissant thread starter Suspended

    Aug 13, 2011
    Thanks for the info but I am actually am trying to use these as a modern storage medium. Really. I am going through a kind of retro-computing thing and I want to use a bunch of older stuff. PLUS, an iOmega JAZ drive can hold up to 2 GB. I know it's not ideal, but it's fun and if it works, I think that's pretty cool thing to add to my collection of things that actually still work! Yes, I am aware of the possibility that I might be crazy.
  7. bunnspecial macrumors 603


    May 3, 2014
    I use an Iomega brand bus-powered USB Zip drive all the time with my Macbook Pro and OS X 10.9.

    I have zero issues. The drive mounts and unmounts just like like any flash drive. The drive will even eject the disk automatically when I unmount the disk in the OS.

    I'll also add that I have a "bondi blue" Imation USB LS-120 drive. These were popular when the first iMacs came out as a floppy drive replacement. I use this with my MBP somewhat frequently also, both to read/write floppies and LS-120 disks.

    I play with a lot of older Macs, and often times dowloading extensions or software on my MBP and then dumping them onto a ZIP disk is the easiest and most painless way to get the files to old computers. When I need to make floppies from images, this capability comes in really handy as the only way I know to do that is with a computer that has an internal floppy drive and is running OS 9 or earlier. Often, I'll dump a bunch of images onto a ZIP disk and then use my beige G3(which has both an internal floppy and internal ZIP drive) to actually make the floppies.

    But, then, all that is probably more than you want to know. The short answer is find a USB(or Firewire) ZIP drive and you will be completely fine.
  8. RedCroissant thread starter Suspended

    Aug 13, 2011
    That's AWESOME!!!! That was exactly what I wanted to know and what I needed to know as well. I was at goodwill this morning and saw a nice 1GB JAZ drive with discs, but once I picked up the item, I heard a bunch of rattling around inside it and the drive door was off and the power button was also removed. I was "slightly" upset.

    I also have a Backwards compatible PS3 that I really don't fully utilize so I was looking at PS2 games as well. I found some awesome ones but most of the discs were missing/stolen or scratched beyond belief. Lame.
  9. hfg macrumors 68040


    Dec 1, 2006
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    If anyone is looking for JAZ or ZIP drives or media disks, give me a shout by PM. I have a couple of boxes of them which were only used on my home computers some time ago, and have very low usage. I am sure we can work out a great deal! I also have a selection of SCSI cables since all of my home-brew computers were SCSI based. Let me know what you need and I will see if I have it. :)

  10. DSpencer macrumors newbie

    Apr 15, 2016
    To update the information related to this rather old thread I can verify that even in El Capitan some external Zip 100 drives will work perfectly, with no additional software needed. First, however, my older style USB ZIP drive (P/N 04041100, model Z100USB, manu. 10/13/1999), a blue transparent case one that is boxy and has its own power supply and I think is technically second generation, is not recognized by my Mac Mini (late 2012) running El Capitan 10.11.4. Although you may find an older Iomega driver for early Mac OS releases it is actually a PowerPC version that, first of all, would require Rosetta (of course no longer included with OS X) and that driver is certainly far too old anyway. However the good news for people like me who still have a bunch of old Zip disks (PC and Mac formatted) with some data that we occasionally want to retrieve is that you can mount them and access their contents perfectly well with the "newer" style USB Zip Drives (mine is P/N 30897300, model Z100USBS, manu. 11/14/2002) that have the more streamlined, opaque blue cases (there is a proper name for that case style but I can't recall it). These newer drives are bus powered (only) and when I connect mine to a USB port on my Mac or a USB hub, insert a ZIP 100 disk, the disk is automatically and quickly mounted on the desktop. I see that you can buy even more recent USB ZIP 100 drives than mine, of the "modern" style, but they seem to me to be stupidly expensive for the technology they offer (about $160+) and it would really make no sense in my opinion to buy ZIP disks ($5+ per disk) when you can get 8 gig (or sometimes higher) USB thumb drives for that price.
    I will also add that the better, modern linux distros (like Linux Mint) handle these newer USB ZIP drives perfectly well, and can mount both PC and Mac-formatted disks provided you have installed the necessary format drivers for hfs/hfs+, etc. In fact the older ZIP drive I mention here that doesn't work with El Capitan on a Mac Mini works fine in linux (and I would assume Windows, at least up to Win 7 if not beyond).
  11. seedgraphics macrumors newbie


    Aug 5, 2017
    --- Post Merged, Aug 5, 2017 ---
    For many years I have been using a system with two Macs, one ancient and one new, a great old scanner, and two disk Zip drives. I'm an artist and I scan my watercolors with the old SCSI Epson Expression scanner connected to power PC, and then save the tifs or the jpgs on a zip disk with a SCSI connection. Then I can move the zip disk to USB zip drive and my MAC mini and work on it in Photo Shop. Iv'e never had a problem using the zip on the new hardware. However recently my zip with the USB connection died and I haven't been able to find another zip drive that really works. I too hate to get rid of my old equipment.

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