I was working in the USA recently and had lots of data files to store (>1.44meg). Having been the owner of a Zip (100mB) back up device for many years, decided to bite the bullet and go for a CD RW version as stuff is getting much bigger these days. Firstly I struggled installing it onto Win XP. (Almost ending up chucking the lot in the bin). The drivers that are bundled only go to Win2K. But if I had been more au fait with XP then I would have realised that it goes straight in and functions without the need for any external driver installation. Once up and running I found it very good and after messing up 1 CDR (my fault) the device proves consistently reliable. It is a bit bulky compared to some of the external CDRW's available nowadays, but it is fairly rugged, and has survived baggage handlers a number of times now through various flights. It has now become a regular part of my travelling office as I hate having to redo any work, and has the added advantage of a second drive for those times when a copy of whatever is useful. It comes bundled with 110/230v power adapter and USB cable and a couple of starter disk to get you going (2 * CDR, 1* CD/RW). The price is good compared to others I have seen. Iomega products have proved reliable to me in the past, and I feel as if I made a good choice buying this one.
In January this year, I finally convinced my conscience that I needed a CD-Writer, for backups and the like. Having previously owned an Iomega Ditto tape drive and been more than impressed by Iomega customer services (a replacement unit was sent to me within 1 week of reporting a fault!), I didn't have any reservations about investing in their ZipCD re-writer (internal IDE). Boasting a 24x read speed with 4x write and 4x re-write it was not too far off top of the range at the time, add to this the software (Adaptec EasyCd, CD Copier Deluxe and DirectCD) and it looked an attractive bundle for the price. When it arrived, I was not disappointed. Opening the gaudy Iomega style retail packaging revealed a neat looking IDE drive with the standard headphone socket, volume dial and LEDs on the front and IDE socket with power and audio connectors on the back. Installing the drive was a doddle. Set the jumpers on the rear to make it a 'slave' IDE device, screw it into the case, plug a power lead and IDE cable in and you're away. The machine booted and recognised the new drive along with the other IDE devices, Windows started as normal and I could red regular CDs from the drive straight away! So it's first job was to install the supplied software. The Iomega CD is an autorun affair that starts up a graphics intensive user interface that takes you through the software installation. You have the option to install EasyCd Creator, DirectCD and CD-Copier Deluxe. I chose all 3. One reboot later and I was ready to burn my first CD (two CD-Rs had come with the drive, a shame they hadn't included a CD-RW as well!). First things first, I selected a load of files that I wanted to archive off my hard disk. EasyCD Creator to the rescue... a simple explorer style interface saw me dragging and dropping files into the window and building up the directory structure of my CD. Once I was happy with the layout, I simply clicked 'record'. This bein
g my first home-burned CD and everything, I sat and watched it through the whole process. At least that was my intention, I gave up after 15 minutes and went to watch the TV... it looked like 600Mb of data was going to take a while. On my return some time later (I can't remember how long), I found the CD tray ejected and my frist home-made CD sitting there waiting for me. EasyCd was reporting a successful completion, so I quickly put it in my regular CD-ROM drive to check it out. Everything had worked fine! If only this was normal. Unfortunately, I think my first CD must have been a fluke. Over the last 10 months I have probably worked my way through around 40 - 50 CD-Rs, at least 25% of which have been 'binned' due to write failures. Even the simplest of tasks, such as copying a music CD (for backup purposes. No, honestly!) is not safe from the 'gremlins'. I have a few music CDs where the music appears to 'skip' mid-tune, only for a fraction of a second but it's noticeable all the same. Data CDs are even worse, the drive just reports I/O (input/output) errors and ejects a useless, half-burned CD. Not all the time, I can usually manage to burn two CDs before it starts scrapping discs, but that's hardly acceptable! Checking the Iomega support site revealed that there had been a firmware (the on-board instructions that tell the CD-writer how to behave) update for my drive, so I downloaded that in the hope that it would fix my problems. The actual firmware upgrade application worked a treat, needing two reboots but working seamlessly. Unfortunately the new firmware didn't fix the problems I had been experiencing. The only other advice the Iomega support site could offer was to "close all other applications while burning a CD". I'd already tried this, even shutting down programs in the system tray but to no avail. I decided to give it one more go, this time using the far more drastic Ctrl-Alt-Del me
thod to bring up a list of running applications and then brutally killing anything listed. Amazingly, it worked. I was able to burn three, even four CDs in succession. But hardly an ideal solution and it left Windows in a rather shaky state. It would appear that the problem is down to the fact that a year ago, there wasn't really such a thing as a 'burn-proof' CD-writer. What this means is that the CD-writer buffers up the data it wants to write in system memory, making sure that it has enough data in the buffer to write a continuous stream to the CD (because you can't really pause a CD in mid-recording). What seems to happen with my ZipCD writer is either that the buffer gets empty or access to the buffer is delayed by other events on the PC, which interrupts the recording process and scraps the whole disc. Ho-hum. The only way around this is to make sure that there are as few applications running as possible to try and reduce the competition for system resources while you are burning a CD. This could probably be considered good-practice for CD-burning anyway, but for the ZipCD, it should be considered ESSENTIAL (and this seems to be irrespective of how 'powerful' a machine you have, I've run into this same problem when I was running an AMD K6-2 500Mhz and again when I upgraded to an Athlon 1.2Ghz). So to sum up then, the ZipCD-RW (24x4x4) is a nice looking drive with a good software bundle. But it suffers from some serious problems when it comes to actually recording CDs. Provided you don't burn CDs all that often you can probably live with it but if you make regular use of it, it will soon become an almighty annoyance. For myself, I have all but given up on the ZipCd and bought a burn-proof Yamaha SCSI CD Re-writer instead.
Having bought a digital camera, I wanted to be able to store my pics on a transportable format and not clog up my fairly small hard disk. Looking around in PC World I decided on the IOMEGA. It looks smart and was pretty easy to install. In use so far it has proved pretty reliable - I haven't burned a CD yet that can't be read on another PC - but the software that comes with it has its little foibles. The most annoying is that, if you do not label a CD when formatting it then you get an error message to the effect that the CD is unusable. Once you have had this message once then the only way out of the loop that it gets itself into is to reboot the system. VERY FRUSTRATING. Knowing the little foible, it is very easy to get around and after that it has seemed to operate very well.
I wanted a CD burner. I'd love to tell you I wanted one to store vitally important information that I had created and copyrighted myself. That wouldn't be true. If you've read any of my other opinions you'll be aware that the world will not wish to keep copies at the British Library, and the Smithsonian is not going to open a new wing for my musings. I wanted a burner for music, and plenty of it. I am however, a technology idiot, and whilst I happily buy anything new on the market I can't work any of it. For that reason I decided that an external CD writer was the only way I could be sure that I wouldn't total my PC. I chose Iomega because I was perfectly happy with Zip drives I'd used before, and figured they knew a thing or two about data storage. The hardware itself came safely packaged, with everything I needed to get set up, but the tiniest instruction book ever. I installed it all pretty quickly, a plug to the mains and a USB connector to my PC, er that's it. Even I could cope. There is no real manual, just an on line link, which isn't helpful at all. Microsoft Windows did it's 'plug and play' detection thingy so no real stress there. The software provided took a couple of attempts to load, and I was irritated to note that that a small slip of paper was included with the software CD telling me not to bother using the Adaptec software on the disc as it didn't work. So why include it then huh? There was no software to convert MP3 files to WAV files, and no explanation of how or why you might need this. I turned for help to the good folk at OpCom, and I downloaded CDex on their recommendation, and found it to be excellent. So now I'm fully installed. I suggest you allow a whole evening, and arrange for any impressionable children to be out so they aren't exposed to inappropriate language. It may also be wise to lo
ck the cat out to avoid any unnecessary kicking. How does it perform? Er, OK, I suppose, if you like that kind of thing. Once you get the hang of the software it is easy to use, but slooooooow, and not 100% reliable. In fact not 75% reliable. The Iomega turns about one in four of my CDs into coasters. I can reduce this to around one in ten if I carefully perform a 'test writing' first. As that adds an extra hour or so, nearly doubling cutting time I rarely bother. I've tried a variety of different disc brands to improve performance, and provided I don't use super cheap supermarket specials there is little difference in the mid to expensive range. The Iomega does do the job I need it to do, but only if I keep hassling it. I'm not about to throw it out and buy a new burner, but then, I only use it for leisure and timing is not critical. For a high volume, high data value user this unit is just too flaky. I'll keep my Iomega, but I'd recommend that you shop elsewhere.
I have a laptop and I needed to be able to send 100Mb files to a graphic designer with a Macintosh. Its too big to send by email or floppy disks. He has a 100Mb zip drive, so I could have bought one of those. However, it would have cost £50 or so just for an external zip drive, and then the cartridges are expensive enough to think twice about sending them around. With a writable CD drive, you get the choice of using CD-R's which can only be written once, but only cost about 25p, or a CD-RW which can be written to in several different sessions but cost about a pound. The nice thing about a CD is that just about every computer will be able to read it - PC, Mac, Unix, whatever. It might also be useful for making copies of audio CDs for compilations, for leaving a copy in the car or for an MP3 CD player. I had a look around for a cheap external writable CD drive and the Iomega ZipCD was the cheapest I could find, apart from some graded mail order returns. I paid just over £150, using a £10 discount voucher from http://gb.buy.com. It plugs into a USB serial port. It also needs an external power supply, so you can't use it away from a desk. I've used it successfully a few times now. It was very easy to install, and is pretty easy to use. Its not particularly compact and the case feels a bit plasticky. The only thing to remember is to stop the communications to it before you unplug the USB cable. If you forget and pull the cable in any case, you get a warning message don't plug it back in again. I got a Blue Screen of Death from Windows 2000 when I tried that. Its a bit of a worry to read about the problems with the backup software. All I can say is that its worked perfectly for me so far. I'd buy it again.
Here’s a great piece of kit that is invaluable to virtually all PC users! There’s nothing worse than losing all your saved work when Windows refuses to work & that’s where the CD-RW comes into its own as it saves a lot of time & effort when this type of thing happens & it does happen. I bought my Zip 650 for a bargain price of £70 because it had the cables & software missing, but that was easily fixed as it only costs a few quid for the EIDE cable (if you haven’t got a spare or spare connector in your PC) & the software was readily easy to find, download & install from Iomega’s web site. The drive I picked up wasn’t the latest in the Iomega range but it does a good job all the same. Mine is a 4-speed writer, 2-speed re-writer & 32 speed CD-ROM & I find that it copies files very quickly & copies CDs at a good speed too! You don’t need the latest, greatest & dearest CD-RW unless you use it on a professional basis. How easy is the drive to install & how easy is the manual to understand? Well the answer to the installation question is fairly easy…you follow the user manual instruction carefully & you’ll have your drive up & running within a half hour or there abouts. I fitted the drive & software within about 10 minutes & it was ready to use after that. The software that came with my Iomega drive was Easy CD Creator Deluxe 4.0 & Iomega’s Quick Sync program, both of which are very easy to use & configure. The Iomega Zip 650 is a great little CD-RW drive that will compete at the highest level against other dearer drives & give them a good run for their money. Patches & updates are very easy to find & download from the Iomega website. I can’t say anymore, as there’s no more to say about this great drive!
I wanted a write-able CD drive primarily for back-up, with the bonus of taking a copy of some audio CDs for use in the car. I didn't want to open up my computer so decided to get an external USB drive. Faced with several machines at PC-World I chose Iomega as the only manufacturers name that I recognised, and one that has a reputation in the area of backup copying. The Iomega drive is quite attractive in a dark purple housing. It takes both CD-R and CD-WR but needs Pentium 166 or higher with Windows 98 with Service Pack 1 or Win 98 Second Edition, and built in USB controller. Installation was a lot less complex than implied on the documentation (both printed and on the installation CD which is animated with soundtrack by an Australian sounding woman). First you install the software, by clicking on the appropriate icon on the installation CD. Then you attach the USB cable to the rear of the CD drive and into the back of the PC. The cable is very short - necessitating the CD drive must be adjacent to the PC. (They warn against using USB extension leads and any USB lead other than the supplied one.) There is an audio cable if you want to use the Iomega as a CD player through PC speakers - I didn't attach these. Lastly attach the power lead to the rear of the CD drive and to a power source. It has a transformer and is supplied with a UK plug. The cable can be plugged in while the PC is powered on. As soon as it is, Windows recognises the new device and loads the appropriate drivers from the installation CD. (The device does not have a power on/off switch) I immediately tried it by copying an audio CD. It took a long time but seemed to work. Next I copied a number of data files to CD as backup. That seemed OK. I was able to read them on another CD drive. The second set of backups seemed to work, but the other drive didn't recognise the CD at all. Putting it back in the Iomega drive the softwar
e said it had to be formatted. So I clicked yes, but still I couldn't copy anything to it. The CD was unrecognisable by any drive. I then noticed a small leaflet titled 'Caution! Important Information about your ZipCD USB Drive'. This said that reliability tests had discovered data loss using the main supplied software - DirectCD. They recommended not using this, but using another supplied program. DirectCD's tools are Drag-n-Drop, SaveAs and QuikSync). Drag-n-Drop allows you to copy files to the CD drive just by dragging and dropping them using standard Windows. QuikSync will automatically make a simultaneous copy onto CD of any file you save in defined folders. I then copied data files using the recommended software - Adaptor Easy CD Creator. This is not particularly intuitive but seems to work, but first I had to uninstall DirectCD otherwise every time I tried to use Easy CD Creator it said the device is being used by DirectCD. It amazes me that Iomega continues sell a backup device that doesn't safely back-up, one that you cannot use QuikSync or drag and drop. It defeats the object of backup if you cannot rely on recovering the saved material. On the Iomega web-site they are selling QuikSync2, presumably a new corrected release, but still supplying the faulty QuikSync with their hardware. The audio CD I copied has several brief but noticeable pauses in the music. Iomegas web-site shows the price at $199 in the US, £199 here; yet another example of rip-off Britain. As the Iomega ZipCD650 is knowingly sold with DirectCD and its functions not usable I cannot recommend it. (And I wish I hadn't relied on their reputation but had picked one of the other manufacturers.)
I'm using the Zip CD on a mAc, and as with every bit of hardware that's Mac and PC compatible, the software's really for the PC. It's simple to set up, though. Insert the disc, plug it in and away you go. I wish the manual wasn't a PDF - I prefer hard copies for reference. Got 2 free CD-Rs. Handy when you're getting started. The CD drawer is a little flimsy, but with care I've had no trouble with it. I've trashed a couple of disks with buffer errors. I advise anyone using the Zip CD to use it before opening other applications, and then it's reliable. Overall, it looks nice, is cheap and does the business. No problem. But shop around - the price varies wildly!
I bought this last Saturday from PC World at a bargain (I think) £130. Fitting internally should not cause fear to anyone as it slots in to IDE 2 and will work off the existing CD, or DVD if fitted, and will work as a slave. Watch for your existing drive being jumpered as a slave. On it's own no problems. Fitting a real slave, change the jumper on the originally fitted drive to "Master". All the instructions are on CD. This is awkward if you are fitting internally as the PC is switched off!! Took some setting up and two e-mails from Iomega later I was up and copying CDs like the best of them. Advertised speed of writing a CD is 8x. I have a P3 500mhz 128meg ram and it could not cope with 8x. Have to do it at 4x. Overall I am very pleased with this budget purchase.
After the first two packages went missing in transit I guess I felt as bit unlucky. Sourced from another vendor and package arrived next day. Opened up the box and plugged it in, in goes the installation CD and I was in for a bad surprise. The Zip 650 USB is not NT compatible. At this time my first vendor did not state this, and Iomega also did not make it clear. I purchased this simply to transfer files from my speedy connection at work to my PC at home. So, I've had to give up and use it at home only. I've researched the Zip650 and can honestly tell you I've seen mixed reviews. I myself have thrown out two CDRW's so far and have constant problems with the drive refusing to eject. All in all having a CDRW is a great thing. If you are currently in the market then think of your basic needs and look into each model's specs and benefits. As usual search newsgroups for other opinions. www.deja.com Robbie Memory / capacity: Excellent