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    14 Reviews
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      21.11.2011 00:33
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      Old skool storage media

      Ahh, the Zip Drive - a device which provides me with a warm and nostalgic feeling... it reminds me of university life in the early 2000s when a 128mb memory stick cost around £100, and computers by default didn't have CD / DVD writing technology.

      For the youngsters out there who haven't ever heard of the good ol' Zip, the device was an intended replacement for the floppy disk which was coming to the end of its life due to a limited capacity. The Zip Drive first came to prominence in the mid 90's, with the first Zip disks being 100mb in size. These were soon replaced by 250mb models, although the original Zip 100 drives couldn't read the new 250mb disks (even though they were of identical dimensions), which meant that anyone with a Zip 100 drive would have to pay again for the Zip 250 model.

      These days it's rare to see anyone using a Zip Drive - there's simply no need for them now that tiny flash drives can hold many gigabytes of data - that said, I know there are people out there who collect such items, and you can currently pick up a Zip 250 drive on eBay for around £15. From a design perspective, the Zip Drive is a solidly build unit clad in a modern looking blue plastic. Designed so it can sit either horizontally or vertically on the desk, the Zip is fairly small at 14 cm x 18 cm x 3.5 cm.

      To use the Zip drive, you first need to install the driver which comes on a CD. The product ships with a USB cable which not only allows data to transfer to and from the device, but also provides the machine with power (no mains connection required). In terms of speed, the product has a 1.40 mb/sec transfer rate, which although not especially fast nowadays, was relatively speedy at the time.

      I found the Zip 250 to be generally reliable, although there were a couple of times where I would put in a Zip Disk and find the data on it had been mysteriously erased! I suppose that's the problem with the old-skool magnetic media. Overall, using the Zip drive was a pleasurable experience, and although it was always deemed to be a device with a short life span, the Zip 250 is an important piece of computer memorabilia.

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        10.01.2002 20:41
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        So what’s a Zip drive? Well Zip is a computer term for compressing data. So if you have a file which is 1MB of data theoretically you could “zip it up” and it would then be 0.5MB of data, or something close. There is one thing about Zipping that makes this more complex though. The ratio you can compress/Zip data is directly proportional to how much data you want compressed and what kind of data you want compressed. For example: 1. A 1K file will have a bad compression ratio. Say 2%. Because it’s not much data to begin, it’s hard to make something small to begin with smaller. 2. You have 60 Gigs of data (loads) and you want to Zip it up. You’re likely to get a good compression rate. Say 30-60% (which is good). Because there is loads of data and so therefore more scope to compress. 3. You have a JPEG file. These will not compress well, because they are already compressed. 4. You a word document or a Bitmap. These compress great. Why, because anything from Windows is wasteful of space. (Try making a blank word document, takes 19k. And there’s nothing in it!) So now you know what Zipping is and how it can and cannot work. But I still haven’t said what a Zip drive is. Well a Zip drive, is a machine which you can use Zip up files onto a special Zip disk. So if you have a Zip drive, you need some zip disks to go with it. You copy files onto your Zip disks by way of the Zip drive. Clear? (Hope so) So now we come to the main bulk of the op, the 250MB Zip Drive from Iomega. Why do I want a Zip disk? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Why? Because: it is a cheap way to store large amounts of data very securely, and it makes data very portable as you can take the disk and the drive to where you want the data to be. The 250MB Zip Drive from Iomega allows you to use 250MB disks and 100MB disks in its drive. This means that if you had
        brought an old Zip drive which only supported 100MB then you wouldn’t need to buy new disks. Both 100MB disks and 250MB disks work in this drive. The drive itself is about the same size as Roald Dahl’s THE BFG softback book. It’s really no t very big and it’s lightweight. So you can carry it round in your, slightly large, pockets. It comes in funky electric blue and it’s got grippy sides so you don’t drop it when playing rugby with it J Now once you’ve set up the drive and its in use, it works fantastically creating a removable drive on your computer that you can treat like any other drive for each disc you put in. Which means you can plug in the drive and then be able to access your Zip disks for their information. Setup ~~~~~ But unfortunately getting it set-up is a bit of a pain, when you’ve finished scrabbling round the back of your computer to put in the parallel port and you’ve wiped all the spiders out of your hair. You then have to deal with the completely irritating Power cable. Which is about 3meters long and in two bits (WHY!). The first bit has the plug on it and some connector, which goes into the other cable, which has the power socket for your drive on the end of it. So all in all, a completely useless additional cable for you to worry about! They do it so that they can sell the drive to all countries without having to change the plugs. Then you put in the CD and it installs. All very easy once connected. WARNING: don’t plug it in and touch the power adapter, I have received 4 or 5 electric shocks off it already. It won’t kill but I’m getting more and more fed up of the spiked hair look. So now you’ve got it all set-up it works great, it really does. It’s quick, fast and easy to use. Most of the time you won’t even know it’s there. You can throw in disks and make backups of your da
        ta easily. Only problem is you brought an external drive to make it portable (otherwise you should have brought a non-removable drive) (But don’t because it costs the same and then you can’t move it), and by now you’ve spent so long getting all the cables looking nice you won’t fancy unplugging it all and going through all that again! Summary ~~~~~~~ The 250MB Zip Drive from Iomega is a great machine. Small, lightweight sleek looking and copies data pretty damn fast. Technically it does what it should and it does it well. Being able to access quickly disks of 250MB is no mean feat. This is a great machine. It is so fast you can even listen to music from disk. It is small and lightweight but the power cables are really gonna pee you off. Also because it is a parallel port machine it will replace the slot at the back of your machine where you put in the printer /scanner. I also think it is a better alternative to using CD’s for data storage. No need to sit there burning all night long. Cost: £130 for the machine. £10 for each 250MB disk. My advice is to spend a few more quid and get the USB version, which is a lot easier to use. And has no damn power cable! Happy Zipping!

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          09.10.2001 05:37
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          Floppy disks are ok if you want to store a few word files lets say or something else that is that small, not much use really when ya want to back up ya hard drive or store large files... but who ever came up with the statement 'Bigger is Better' couldn't have been more right! With our computers becoming bigger and better we are storing far much more data, we are downloading much more from the internet and clogging our computers up with it all, but all that is a thing of the past now.... Iomega have come up with a great idea and called it a zip drive! This is basically another floppy disk drive but it will hold at the moment upto 250mb which is quite a difference to the old 1.44mb floppys. With the zip drive you can either get them as internal or external drives which is great for data transfer, say you have a rather large business presentation that you need to take with you to work well you could put it on a zip disk then take the drive with you to work plug it into the parallel port and thats all there is to it, no more splitting it up on loads of floppy disk. Installation wasn't to bad, you just plug it in, insert the CD and follow the on screen instructions just like you would for any normal program, the computer picks up drive and creates a new space for it and gives it a new letter and it will also call it a removable drive unless you change the name of it. I installed the drive onto Windows ME and I didn't get any trouble but after trying to install onto Windows NT I did have some trouble trying to get the drive to pick up so I dont recommend you use parallel version for Window NT as it doesn't seem to like it very much! Try USB one I think that will pick up much better. The Zip doesn't have to many features I mean after all its only a glorified floppy disk.... but what more do you really expect i mean the disks hold 250mb thats quite a bit of stuff! There are a few things you need to
          remember when using Zip Disks such as, 1. Never remove the disk while you are copying data to it, can be nasty you will have the horrid blue screen telling you off... so dont do it its not worth it! 2. Always format the disk before using them for the first time 3. Reboot ya computer when you've not been using the drive this will help to refresh the drive 4. Try to send data when your not doing anything else on the computer because it use's quite a bit of ya resources and can slow it down. 5. As with a floppy drive and a CD ROM if you click the icon when there is no disk in the drive will try to read a disk and if it cannot find any data you may get a blue screen which wont go away! There are other ways of transferring data such as the PC anywhere package but this is not for storing data like the Zip drive is, you can use CD to store data but you must use CD-RW or you will not be able to re use the disk, this is a much longer process than using a Zip disk. There is one main disadvantage to using zips and that is the price you can get about 4 disk for £40 / £50 depending where you get them from but remember you can use them as many times as you like and they dont ware out or break as easy as a floppy disk does, also each disk is 250mb so very good for storage. Drives vary in price from around £200 but they really are worth it, there are the easiest way I have found for storing and transferring data and in my experience very reliable. I am sure that in time they will just get better and better and bigger disk will come along but for now I highly recommend the 250mb Zip Drive. One thing I would say now though is that if you have a USB port on your computer buy the USB Zip because data will flow quicker using that port that the parallel ones.

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            26.06.2001 00:01
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            Iomega's Zip has been around for some time now, and they have now improved it by upping the capacity to 250MB, a fairly significant improvement. I find that the capacity is good enough for general storage, but it's still not really a valid option for backing up whole drives. A shame, because if you could, this would be a great all-round device. Installation was easy, as should be expected, and the included software, whilst being limited, works well enough. I have not had any problems with the hardware, and since I'm lugging it around the country fairly regularly, this is quite an achievement. The big niggle, however, is the speed. The parallel interface just doesn't cut the mustard. Transferring a full 250MB of data can take upwards of 1.5 hours. If you need to transport your storage, get the USB version (which is a little faster). If you don't, get the EIDE or, better yet, the SCSI version. As it stands, however, the Zip is the only practical method of hauling around large amounts of data (OK, you can use CD-RW, but that is too fiddly for me). Just consider whether you mind the long transfer times before purchase.

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              07.05.2001 23:45
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              1.44 Mb of data on a floppy disk just doesn't cut it these days, in fact I think there was only a two week period when they superceeded the 5 1/4 inch disks that they did cut it. PC Anywhere was my next attempt at solving the data transfer problem...it's a pain and just doesn't want to work with Windows NT. CD-R/CD-RW 's just take too long to set up and burn. It was an immense relief, therefore, to find an alternate means of transferring data from A to B. The powers that be decided I should get the SCSI version of the IOMega Winzip 250 drive, I would have picked the Parallel port version if left to my own devices, and would now definitely get the USB version. In the fullness of time an Adaptec SCSI card and the Winzip did arrive. Installation I have to say was not easy and it took some grappling to get everything up and running, and I can't tell you what it took to fix it as on one fateful reboot, it just all worked... Seems to me getting the SCSI card configured on Windows NT 4.0 was 95% of the battle, so if you've already got a happy SCSI card you shouldn't have a problem. Then repeated this process on my trusty home PC running Windows 98 and, later, Windows ME...much, much easier to do (good grief, does plug and play work?). My Winzip Drive is now over a year old and we are a happy, if temperamental, triumvirate. Care and feeding of your IOMega Winzip 250 SCSI drive: Remember to format the sample 250 MB disks for PC (learnt that one the hard way). Reboot your machine from time to time, otherwise the Zip drive goes to sleep and you can't copy to it. If files take too long to copy, a disk shouldn't take more than about 3 mins to fill, REBOOT. Never, ever, remove a disk whilst in the middle of a copy...instant blue screen of death. Don't click on the Zip drive letter when there's not a dis
              k in the drive sometimes gives blue screen of death (seems to happen more on Windows 98 than ME). Winzip disks are expensive, but, touch wood, I've never had a disk go bad on me yet, unlike those sorry 1.44mb disks or even CD-R's. Happy Data Copying and maybe one day something better (ie bigger) will come along!

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                29.01.2001 06:16
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                When it comes to removable storage it’s really about CD-R/RW versus Zip. And there is no clear winner, as it all comes down to do you know anyone with a CD/Zip drive. Obviously lots of people have CD drives and so can read CD-R/RW discs but far less have the capability to actually write them. I choose a Zip drive because a lot of the computers at my University have them, so it was a no brainer. But now the drive itself. It’s just under half the capacity of CD-R but is much faster to write to. The discs themselves are sturdier than CD-R’s, as they come in a case and so aren’t scratchable. The drive is 3.5” format and so can be mounted in either the small or large drive bays, unlike CD-R’s which only fit in the larger. To sum up, the drive is very good but be sure you would benefit more from a Zip than you would from a CD-R/RW.

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                23.01.2001 21:05

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                This drive is not quite what I was hoping that it would be but its not too bad, put it this way I haven’t found something to replace it yet. The install is reasonably easy, chuck the drive into a bay, screw it down, connect the IDE cable and power cable etc. My BIOS found it and then windows, you then chuck in the drivers disk and it does the rest. The drives comes with all the usual software such as iomigawear and copy it. When you install the iomigawear it asks you what drive letters you want to assign and the rest is easy. Unless you select the custom install it will install all of the software for you. I have to say though; although the software that is supplied is good I hardly ever use any of it. The only one that I have used is the copy it bit that seems to make copying disks easer than other ways of doing it. The only grudges that I have against the drive its self is that its slow and that if you leave the disk in there when you shut it off and forget to take it out before windows boots then windows has a habit of putting the virtual memory on to it which slows the pc up a bit. If anyone wants to know anything else about it then tell me and I tell you!

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                23.11.2000 03:07
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                I bought a Zip Drive a couple of months ago, and it is so easy to use, mine is a parallel port connection, it also allows me to use my printer. It came with 3*100mb Zip Disks, which I think was a bargain and all for £76 I think that was the price. It is so useful for holding that software that you download, and it will hold your very important back-ups, so the only problem you have to worry about is what to name them. I think that is it better than a CD-RW, and it is so handy. I would definitely say, go and get one, but buy it from the internet, and not from the shops, I managed to get back lower than the website price (computastore.com) because another website sold it about £5 cheaper, although that one never came with any Disks, so they lowered mine down below the website price and I picked it up from my local store.

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                10.10.2000 23:03
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                Like a lot of people, I never took seriously backing up my home stuff, relying mainly on putting various important documents on floppy disc, and then only when I could be bothered. And then, like a lot of people my computer went up in smoke and while I was able to restore all the software and settings, and had a whole bunch of documents here and there, I had lost all sorts of useful things, and the rest of my stuff was scattered through a heap of floppy discs. I bought my zip drive to cover me, to put all of my documents onto one disc, in one go. This process has worked very effectively, as the drive is, for all practical purposes, just part of my PC now. I can, and do, back everything up frequently, with the small amount of time I spend doing it rewarded with the knowledge that anything I store on my PC is safely copied somewhere else, and easy to get at. I can't recommend one of these machines highly enough to anyone with a PC.

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                03.08.2000 05:30
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                This is a fantastic piece of kit and should be owned by everyone with a computer. The Zip Drive is similar in many ways to a floppy disk drive except instead of 1.44MB of storage space there is 250MB on each disk. This allows MP3 files, large graphics files, video files etc. to be stored and backed up. I never backed up my files because i didn't really see the need and there was no way i could of since i didn't have a storage medium large enough. After all the files on my computer got erased by a virus, including important reports and assignments, i finally gave in and decided to purchase some hardware that allowed me to back up. It was a decision between a CD writer and a Zip Drive. A year down the line i am glad i chose the Zip drive. The one bad thing about the zip drive is that the disks are quite expensive, £15-£20, whereas a CD only costs £1 and a CD has more storage space. However, the Zip disks are rewritable and are more reliable. If a CD gets scratched then the data is probably lost. My Zip disks have never lost the data stored on them and they have taken quite a battering. The Zip disk is very easy to set up and use unlike a CD writer which is very unstable. Once the drivers are installed the Zip drive works just like a floppy disk drive. Another huge plus for the 250MB Zip drive is that it is also able to use the 100MB disks which are cheaper. So if you are looking for a easy to use storage medium to back up or transfer large files from one place to another then this is ideal. Do yourself a favour and buy it now

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                19.07.2000 18:41

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                I bought this device because my computer was quite old and I could not install a CD-RW device, that was what I really wanted. Anyway it sounded quite good: 250 removable MB in every disk. It's extremelly easy to install in the parallel port, and it will not interfear with your printer (it includes an extra port where you can plug the printer). If you plan to use it in your friend's computers (to exchange files) there's a guest-installation option which is very fast and easy. The data transference is not very fast, but it's ok (reading faster than writing). The quite big problem is that the disks are quite expensive (but you can have enought with 3).

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                02.07.2000 21:29

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                Goldilocks would love this drive. It's neither as small as a 100MB Zip, nor as big as a Jaz drive. It's not as fast as the Jaz, but it dramatically outperforms all 100MB drives and its parallel port sister, the Iomega 250MB drive. In other words, it's just right. Size Matters We say 250MB is a happy medium for folks who feel penned in by the limits of a 100MB superfloppy, but who don't want the commitment of a 1GB or 2GB Jaz drive. The only drawback is that while this drive can read 100MB disks from the 19 million or so 100MB Zip drives in the world, those drives can't read 250MB disks, so sharing can be a problem. If history repeats itself, however, we'll continue to see an increase in storage needs and a proliferation of Zip 250MB drives. Stellar Performance The $199 250MB Zip SCSI-interface drive runs circles around the Zip's new 100MB USB version and its 250MB parallel port sibling. The Zip 250MB is fast enough to play video clips and small applications right from the disk. The downside is that if you plan to transfer fat files, you'll still have to wait a lot longer than you would if you were transferring them onto a hard drive or a Jaz drive. But as removable storage goes, this is the speediest superfloppy we tested. While setting up a SCSI interface takes up a bit more time, the speed boost is probably worth the trouble. And Iomega's great software (IomegaWare and Iomega Tools) makes managing your information easy. If you're looking to buy this drive, however, don't forget to factor in the cost of a SCSI card, as Iomega doesn't include one. If you want a removable storage drive capable of handling video clips and other big files, the Iomega Zip 250 SCSI Drive will serve up what you need quickly and at a reasonable price.

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                28.06.2000 19:44

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                Eversince the advent on win95, a floppy disc could no longer suffice for the memory hungry bill gate files. For this reason a Zip was a good investment. The new ZIP 250's are much faster than the old 100 meg ones, and can use the same media. The advantage is the 250 meg space. BUT WAIT.. this is the review of the internal version, the one you cannot carryout. I'm reviewing this because my UNI, has just fitted 100+ of these onto all the new PC's. They are basically the same as the portable versions, but you cannot carry them around. This means that if you visit a friends house, you can take a disc with you but wont be able to use it, cos your drive is hard bolted onto your PC..! For the price that you are paying these devices ARE NOT WORTH THE MONEY.. WHY?.. because you can buy a CD/RW for this price, and you can burn CD's in the packet format and take it anywhere and read it on most PC's, you also have about 500 megs, so why bother with the Zip 250 (internal). The only advantage is if you NEED TO READ Zip 250 discs, or carry alot of them around and use it for work. In this case, spend 50 squids more and get the external version. As for the original ZIP featue (double memory compression) You don't need this cos, there are many Zip progs out, and many of them free. So if you want storage and mobility of media, use a CDRW. If you want and use lots of Zip media.. then get the external Zip.

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                21.06.2000 02:07

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                Zip has been a money saver for me. I was faced the option of getting a new hard-drive or get a zip drive. I opted for the zip and haven't regretted it. Most files on my computer are mp3s and reports, coursework and pictures. With all these items transfered to zip disks, it freed up 100s of Megs of space. The disks range from £19 in PC World, to £12 in mail order magazines. The mail problem is the slow transfers of the parrallel port. Get the USB version of this product if you have a USB port as it will access files faster.

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