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SCSI ZIP Drive Question

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  • rkushnier
    Hi Guys, Just wanted to know if MARCH can use a fully working SCSI Zip Drive for the Museum. Also, if I reformat a Zip Disk, does that make it secure enough to
    Message 1 of 16 , Sep 6, 2013
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      Hi Guys,
      Just wanted to know if MARCH can use a fully working SCSI Zip Drive for the Museum. Also, if I reformat a Zip Disk, does that make it secure enough to give away?

      Thanks,

      Ron K
    • David Riley
      ... I ll go ahead and say MARCH should definitely consider taking it, as ZIP disks are great for bringing up PDP-11s and VAXen if you have SCSI cards (which we
      Message 2 of 16 , Sep 6, 2013
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        On Sep 6, 2013, at 11:50, <rkushnier@...> wrote:

         

        Hi Guys,
        Just wanted to know if MARCH can use a fully working SCSI Zip Drive for the Museum. Also, if I reformat a Zip Disk, does that make it secure enough to give away?

        I'll go ahead and say MARCH should definitely consider taking it, as ZIP disks are great for bringing up PDP-11s and VAXen if you have SCSI cards (which we do). Among other things, you can just blast images from SimH directly to them, which makes it easy to start with a preconfigured OS.

        As far as the formatting, you probably want to do the "long format" option in the Iomega tools; this will also let the drive reassess the quality of the disks, which is important for older media.

        I have a quantity of ZIP 100 disks that is much larger than I actually need; I'll be glad to donate about a dozen to MARCH next time I'm up. The 100s were actually quite reliable, despite the "click of death" horror stories.

        - Dave

      • Evan Koblentz
        ... Happy to give it a good home.
        Message 3 of 16 , Sep 6, 2013
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          >> Just wanted to know if MARCH can use a fully working SCSI Zip Drive for the Museum.

          Happy to give it a good home.
        • rkushnier
          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
          Message 4 of 16 , Sep 17, 2013
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            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:

            RESOURCE.FRK

            Desktop DB

            Desktop DF

            DesktopPrinters DB

            FINDER


            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.



            --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, <midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com> wrote:

            >> Just wanted to know if MARCH can use a fully working SCSI Zip Drive for the Museum.

            Happy to give it a good home.
          • Evan Koblentz
            ... Okay, thanks for the heads-up. The next few weeks are busy for us anyhow.
            Message 5 of 16 , Sep 17, 2013
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              >> 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.

              Okay, thanks for the heads-up.

              The next few weeks are busy for us anyhow.
            • David Riley
              ... 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
              Message 6 of 16 , Sep 17, 2013
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                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:

                RESOURCE.FRK

                Desktop DB

                Desktop DF

                DesktopPrinters DB

                FINDER

                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

              • David Riley
                ... As an addendum to my previous email, one should obviously take *some* measures to erase what s on the disks. I don t know what s on your disks, but I
                Message 7 of 16 , Sep 17, 2013
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                  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.

                  As an addendum to my previous email, one should obviously take *some* measures to erase what's on the disks. I don't know what's on your disks, but I bought a large bag of disks at a yard sale here in Philly about a year ago and finally got around to checking the disks out to make sure they were at least working. About half of them were full of Asian porn. No lie.

                  - Dave
                • Bill Dromgoole
                  I use DBAN to clean disks. It is a free download. http://www.dban.org/ Seems to work fine. BillDrom
                  Message 8 of 16 , Sep 17, 2013
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                    I use DBAN to clean disks. It is a free download.
                     
                    Seems to work fine.
                     
                    BillDrom
                     
                  • jeff_s_jonas
                    How can one totally destroy a ZIP drive? Let me count the ways ... Despite the SCSI drives allegedly supporting the common command set, using the SCSI format
                    Message 9 of 16 , Sep 18, 2013
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                      How can one totally destroy a ZIP drive? Let me count the ways ...

                      Despite the SCSI drives allegedly supporting the common command set, using the SCSI "format" command renders the platters totally useless. You MUST use the iomega utilities!

                      Perhaps I'm confusing the ZIP with the Jaz drives. The same precautions probably apply.

                       



                      --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, <midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com> wrote:

                      
                      I use DBAN to clean disks. It is a free download.
                       
                      Seems to work fine.
                       
                      BillDrom
                       
                    • s100doctor
                      ... It s always a good idea to migrate data to new media and storage. No argument there. But that terrible reputation is undeserved and more myth than
                      Message 10 of 16 , Oct 28, 2013
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                        I realize this thread on SCSI ZIP drives is a month old, but I read it recently and wanted to comment on the following:

                        > 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.

                        It's always a good idea to migrate data to new media and storage. No argument there. But that "terrible reputation" is undeserved and more myth than legend.

                        ZIP 100MB disks go back to about the mid 1990's, so that's close to 20 years. That's a long time for one particular magnetic mass storage technology. ZIP 100 drives were available for SCSI, IDE (PATA), PC parallel port, and USB - that's unique for any magnetic mass storage technology. Imagine writing a ZIP diskette on a Mac SE and reading it on a Windows or Linux PC; other than the fact of a Mac vs Windows format - that's also unique. And until a few years ago, one could STILL buy ZIP 100 diskettes in office supply stores.

                        I"ve bought and sold dozens of ZIP drives and read dozens of ZIP disks from several owners, over more than a decade. Most drives worked OK and most disks worked OK. The quote famous click-of-death unquote, was a consequence of a run of bad drives over a short period. Iomega was called to task for that and offered replacements. Also, the brand "ZIP Plus" drives apparently were less reliable. That's the only bad news I've seen on actual use of ZIP disks. They simply became superseded by writable CD drives.

                        So I'd rank ZIP drives as more reliable and more usable across years and (personal computing) systems, than most any other magnetic media except floppy disks. I've noted they covered a lot of systems. Their prices were very competitive. Iomega built a good reputation around them. I don't entirely understand the retrospective bad press they receive, other than a tendency to discount old technology that simply runs its course but not make some company or person billions of dollars. That, and the period of bad drives during "the click of death" circumstance.

                        Herb Johnson
                        retrotechnology.com



                        ---In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, <jeff_s_jonas@...> wrote:

                        How can one totally destroy a ZIP drive? Let me count the ways ...

                        Despite the SCSI drives allegedly supporting the common command set, using the SCSI "format" command renders the platters totally useless. You MUST use the iomega utilities!

                        Perhaps I'm confusing the ZIP with the Jaz drives. The same precautions probably apply.

                         



                        --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, <midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com> wrote:

                        
                        I use DBAN to clean disks. It is a free download.
                         
                        Seems to work fine.
                         
                        BillDrom
                         
                      • Ray Sills
                        HI Gang: Following up on Herb s observations on Zip disks: For a long time, we used Zip disks where I worked in a slightly unusual manner: There were used to
                        Message 11 of 16 , Oct 28, 2013
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                          HI Gang:

                          Following up on Herb's observations on Zip disks:

                          For a long time, we used Zip disks where I worked in a slightly
                          unusual manner: There were used to store audio recordings. A company
                          called 360 Systems manufactured an audio recorder/player that took the
                          place of what was the industry standard audio recording and playback
                          device: the NAB audio cartridge. Audio "carts" are still used in some
                          broadcast facilities to this day.

                          But the 360 Systems Digicart offered many advantages: much longer
                          recording time, ability to trim the start and end of the recording
                          after the fact, and almost instant access to whatever was on the
                          disk. The company originally used 44 mb removable disks, but went to
                          the iomega Zip format soon on. The Zip disks could record in full
                          bandwidth digital recording (48K sampling) or a data compressed mode,
                          AC2 that reduced file size by a factor of about 4, with virtually
                          indistinguishable quality from the original.

                          The Zip disks were handy and often used to send important audio
                          recordings, like "Theme Packages" to remote sites for use in a sports
                          broadcast.

                          The gist of it is that we almost -never- had any failures. And, once
                          the disk was on site, the audio operator could transfer the content to
                          an internal hard drive, if his Digicart had one (most did). It was a
                          simple, easy to use, and reliable system.

                          We also have some Jaz drives, which were used for temporary storage of
                          audio tracks in an audio for video post production system. In this
                          case, the Jaz would hold the dialog of an hour-long soap opera, as it
                          was moved along in various stages of post production. After the
                          episode was broadcast, the Jaz disk would be erased and used for a new
                          episode.

                          It was the case that we used the iomega formatting software to erase
                          the disks. With the Digicarts however, the recorder itself could
                          erase a disk, likely with licensed code from iomega.

                          Bottom line: the Zip and Jaz disks did yeoman work, with few failures.

                          73 de Ray
                        • David Riley
                          ... I generally tend to agree on Zip drives, especially the 100MB versions; they re very robust and reliable. Later ones (both drives and disks for 250MB and
                          Message 12 of 16 , Oct 28, 2013
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                            On Oct 28, 2013, at 2:19 PM, Ray Sills wrote:

                            > Bottom line: the Zip and Jaz disks did yeoman work, with few failures.

                            I generally tend to agree on Zip drives, especially the 100MB
                            versions; they're very robust and reliable. Later ones (both
                            drives and disks for 250MB and 750MB variants) are somewhat
                            less so, in my experience.

                            However, I have TERRIBLE experiences with almost all Jaz
                            media and drives I've worked with. They generally worked
                            fine when new, but the drives were quite fragile and the
                            disks seem to fail with age. I have about a dozen Jaz disks
                            here which worked fine when they were last used about a
                            decade ago. When I tried to fire them up again last year to
                            use for some vintage work, NONE of them were usable and ALL
                            failed "long format" across multiple drives. I have no
                            working Jaz media at this point, though I don't actually
                            know if it's the disks or the drives at fault.


                            - Dave
                          • Systems Glitch
                            ... Same here. I don t think I have any cartridges or drives that remain functional. I used Bernoulli disks for a while in the late 90 s, since they were
                            Message 13 of 16 , Oct 28, 2013
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                              > However, I have TERRIBLE experiences with almost all Jaz
                              > media and drives I've worked with.

                              Same here. I don't think I have any cartridges or drives that remain functional.

                              I used Bernoulli disks for a while in the late 90's, since they were cheaply available as their previous owners replaced them with Zip disks/drives. I gave Zip disks a try when their prices came down due to prevalance of CD-R drives, but ended up going with SyQuest EZ-Drive 230 MB drives, which were more closely related to the Jaz drive in that they used hard disk platters.

                              Of course, the king of old-but-reliable media has to be the Magneto-Optical disk. I use the 3.5" format, which comes in capacities up to 2.3 GB. Still use them for really important backups (taxes, medical records, et c.). I have a USB 2.0 attached 2.3 GB drive on my desk, which will read/write down to the original 128 MB cartridges. There's a mix of SCSI and IDE MO drives paired with several old machines, mostly SCSI drives with older Macs.

                              Thanks,
                              Jonathan
                            • J. Alexander Jacocks
                              ... Same here. I have Jaz drives (both 1 and 2GB versions), and carts, but none seem to work. My Zip carts, even those bought at random flea markets, work
                              Message 14 of 16 , Oct 28, 2013
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                                On Mon, Oct 28, 2013 at 5:21 PM, Systems Glitch <systems.glitch@...> wrote:
                                 

                                > However, I have TERRIBLE experiences with almost all Jaz
                                > media and drives I've worked with.

                                Same here. I don't think I have any cartridges or drives that remain functional.

                                Same here.  I have Jaz drives (both 1 and 2GB versions), and carts, but none seem to work.  My Zip carts, even those bought at random flea markets, work great.  That goes for the 100s and the 250s.  I don't have any 750s.

                                One useful thing that I have found is that if you have a zip cart that someone has formatted oddly, the drives will quite often refuse to read it.  However, for some reason, the parallel port zip drive, with the DOS zip tools, is fantastic at formatting those carts back to usefulness.  Complete accidental discovery.
                                 
                                Of course, the king of old-but-reliable media has to be the Magneto-Optical disk. I use the 3.5" format, which comes in capacities up to 2.3 GB. Still use them for really important backups (taxes, medical records, et c.). I have a USB 2.0 attached 2.3 GB drive on my desk, which will read/write down to the original 128 MB cartridges. There's a mix of SCSI and IDE MO drives paired with several old machines, mostly SCSI drives with older Macs.

                                Interesting, as I just picked up one of the 2.3GB Fujitsu drives, at a Hamfest.  I remember them well, for years gone by, but I never had one, before.  I'll have to play with it, while media is still readily available.

                                - Alex
                              • jeff_s_jonas
                                I was always suspicious of ZIP drives and somehow avoided them at home, work & school. A 1 gig USB drive got me thru my masters degree. At home I used full
                                Message 15 of 16 , Oct 29, 2013
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                                  I was always suspicious of ZIP drives and somehow avoided them at home, work & school. A 1 gig USB drive got me thru my masters' degree.


                                  At home I used full size QIC tape drives for backups, then PD (phase-differential) 5.25" optical drives. And external SCSI hard drives.


                                  I was given some 1 gig Jaz drives & cartridges but I think I ruined them by using the SCSI controller's low level formatting


                                  Mac folks preferred Syquest drives and I salvaged a similar removable 5.25" hard drive cartridge from an AT&T phone system (Definity?) Long before that were 8" LARK removable cartridges and before that 14" platters in pizza cases or diskpacks up to 11 platters. Been there, done that.





                                  ---In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, <midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com> wrote:

                                  On Mon, Oct 28, 2013 at 5:21 PM, Systems Glitch <systems.glitch@...> wrote:
                                   
                                  > However, I have TERRIBLE experiences with almost all Jaz
                                  > media and drives I've worked with.

                                  Same here. I don't think I have any cartridges or drives that remain functional.

                                  Same here.  I have Jaz drives (both 1 and 2GB versions), and carts, but none seem to work.  My Zip carts, even those bought at random flea markets, work great.  That goes for the 100s and the 250s.  I don't have any 750s.

                                  One useful thing that I have found is that if you have a zip cart that someone has formatted oddly, the drives will quite often refuse to read it.  However, for some reason, the parallel port zip drive, with the DOS zip tools, is fantastic at formatting those carts back to usefulness.  Complete accidental discovery.
                                   
                                  Of course, the king of old-but-reliable media has to be the Magneto-Optical disk. I use the 3.5" format, which comes in capacities up to 2.3 GB. Still use them for really important backups (taxes, medical records, et c.). I have a USB 2.0 attached 2.3 GB drive on my desk, which will read/write down to the original 128 MB cartridges. There's a mix of SCSI and IDE MO drives paired with several old machines, mostly SCSI drives with older Macs.

                                  Interesting, as I just picked up one of the 2.3GB Fujitsu drives, at a Hamfest.  I remember them well, for years gone by, but I never had one, before.  I'll have to play with it, while media is still readily available.

                                  - Alex
                                • Dave McGuire
                                  ... For me, the most reliable media have been, in decreasing order of reliability: - 9-track magtape - DEC RL01/RL02 - Floppy disks - Zip disks (100MB version
                                  Message 16 of 16 , Oct 29, 2013
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                                    On 10/29/2013 06:11 PM, jeff_s_jonas@... wrote:
                                    > I was always suspicious of ZIP drives and somehow avoided them at home,
                                    > work & school. A 1 gig USB drive got me thru my masters' degree.
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > At home I used full size QIC tape drives for backups, then PD
                                    > (phase-differential) 5.25" optical drives. And external SCSI hard drives.
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > I was given some 1 gig Jaz drives & cartridges but I think I ruined them
                                    > by using the SCSI controller's low level formatting
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > Mac folks preferred Syquest drives and I salvaged a similar removable
                                    > 5.25" hard drive cartridge from an AT&T phone system (Definity?) Long
                                    > before that were 8" LARK removable cartridges and before that 14"
                                    > platters in pizza cases or diskpacks up to 11 platters. Been there, done
                                    > that.

                                    For me, the most reliable media have been, in decreasing order of
                                    reliability:

                                    - 9-track magtape
                                    - DEC RL01/RL02
                                    - Floppy disks
                                    - Zip disks (100MB version only)
                                    - 8" and 5.25" Bernoulli (the nearly-identical predecessor of Zip)

                                    -Dave

                                    --
                                    Dave McGuire, AK4HZ
                                    New Kensington, PA
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