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32434Re: [midatlanticretro] SCSI ZIP Drive Question

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  • David Riley
    Sep 17, 2013
      On Sep 17, 2013, at 20:59, <rkushnier@...> wrote:


      SCSI Zip Drive Delivery will be Late

      The purpose of this exercise was to transfer the contents of forty Iomega 100 MB Zip disks onto a write-once DVD, and to then to scrub the zip disks so that I could donate them, and their drives.

      Normally, I trust magnetic media for long term storage, but historically the vintage Iomega Zip drive has had a terrible reputation; and its notorious, “Click of Death” is legendary. So, I wanted to retrieve my data before it was too late. Aside from the DVD copy, I planned to slip a copy of the old data onto several one terabyte SATA hard drives as a backup. Not that they represent anything really archival either... but that's another story.

      I hooked up a SCSI Zip drive to my old MAC Powerbook 1400 laptop, running under MAC OS 8.6. Since the 1400 was built before the days of the USB FLASH drive, my transfer medium turned out to be a 1GB CompactFlash card through a PCMCIA adapter . The transfer went smoothly.

      It was then time to scrub the Zip disks. The original disks were configured for the MAC. I had thought that by using a “Long Disk Format Option in the Iomega Tools application, and changing the format to DOS, I would be clearing out the data. However, reading further about scrubbing disks led me to the conclusion that although the file structure may be wiped, the data can still be recovered.

      So, I set up my old XP machine that has a parallel port, and plugged in a second compatible ZIP drive. When I loaded the reformatted Zip disk, which was supposed to have been configured for DOS, there were still one MAC folder and four MAC files present. Namely:


      Desktop DB

      Desktop DF

      DesktopPrinters DB


      Those files are just the ones that the Mac OS leaves on every DOS disk you mount. They are essentially metadata, and should contain nothing related to the data the disk previously held before you erased.

      I used an XP program called “File Shredder” to scrub the Zip disk using the DoD5220-22.m algorithm. To my surprise, after scrubbing, the five MAC entries were still there. File Shredder only scrubs the disk's free space. To get rid of the MAC files, I reformatted each disk using the XP machine's FORMAT command, before I used the scrubbing program. I then checked a few of the disks using an XP sector editor program, ntdiskviewer.

      I was hoping to bring my Zip drives and about forty disks to the museum on Sept 15th for drop-off. However, I'll need a little more time.

      A Zip disk "long format" should do a pretty adequate job of scrubbing the disk, as it does a lot more than an OS-level format. It's actually somewhere in between a true low-level format and a standard format, in that I believe it does some low-level formatting of the data tracks, but only the factory has (had) equipment for writing the "Z-tracks" that Iomega disks use to store reliability-related data such as available spare sectors.

      In short, I'd be relatively confident at this point that your data is pretty well wiped. But it's your data, so do whatever makes you comfortable. I doubt anyone's in a huge hurry, though I certainly can't speak for everyone.

      - Dave

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