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First released in 1994, Iomega's Zip Drive was intended as a replacement for the floppy disk which was limited in terms of its speed and capacity. I first purchased a Zip Drive around ten years ago, and found it to be a reliable and quick method of saving files before the CD writer was commonplace. These days the Zip drive is almost redundant, as the aforementioned recordable CD and DVD drives have fallen in price, and are fitted as standard on most computers.
The Zip drive was a pretty cool looking unit for its time - manufactured from a blue (or officially 'blueberry') transparent plastic case which allowed you to see the machine's internal workings. Designed so it could sit either horizontally or vertically on the desk, the Zip was by no means obtrusive at only 13.6 cm x 18 cm x 3.7 cm. When it was first released, the drive retailed at a whopping £150, although prices were quick to fall and nowadays you can pick up a Zip Drive on Amazon for around £15. I sold my one a couple of years ago for £10 on eBay, and recently i've seen a number of the devices on the popular auction site for under a fiver. The disks cost around £6 each and could be recorded upon indefinitely.
Connecting to your PC or Mac was done via USB (the cable was included), and the Zip Drive required the installation of a piece of software (a 'driver') before it could be used. Handily, the drive didn't need a mains connection to operate, as it drew its power directly from the USB. The drive only takes the 100mb variety of Zip disks, rather than the higher capacity 250 and 750mb versions. These days, a 100mb capacity may seem like a tiny amount, but eight or nine years ago it was more than enough to store a number of photos and documents. The product had a 1.40 mb/sec transfer rates, which, although not especially fast nowadays, felt quite speedy at the time.
Using the Zip drive was a pleasurable experience - I especially appreciated the reassuring clunk, followed by the familiar whirr as the drive accepted and subsequently read the data from the disks. Overall, although it's unlikely that you'll see one sitting on a desk top nowadays, the Zip Drive was a reliable and nice looking product which bridged the gap between the floppy disk and the recordable CD.
As most people will remember, the only form of media for storing files used to be the humble floppy disk. This was a very decent product in it's time because the size of most files were quite small, allowing a large portion of your data to stored this way. Even today the floppy can be useful for Excel spreadsheets or Word documents, but with the ever increasing size of files such as audio, photo and video content a larger has become essential. The current available options are Zip drive, LS120 or CD writer. A CD writer will offer a very healthy 700 Mb of storage, but requires either a new disk each time you change the content or a Rewitable disk. Even a rewritable disk has obviou disadvantages, to change the data would require formatting the disk and restarting. An LS120 was a realistic competitor to the Zip drive for a while. This was mainly due to the fact that a LS120 drive will read and write to floppy disks as well as LS120 disks which hold 120 Mb. As a previous owner of one of these drives I found it to be very useful but sadly rather slow to transfer data. This leaves just one option for regular data storage of moderate size, the Zip drive. An internal Zip is far cheaper than the USB variety, but choosing the latter can have definite benefits. An external Zip drive is ideal if you possess more than 1 computer, or if you have both desktop and notebook. It also constitutes a very portable item, so you can easily take it along to a friend's home to transfer files to and from their computer. This is a very fast and easy to use product, and does not even require a separate power source because it is host powered. Zip disks used to be very expensive, but due to the popularity the cost is falling to a reasonable level now. Basically the only real downside is that due to the rapidly increasing size of software and files in general the disk is effectively becoming smaller, but this drive will certainly prove to be a useful p
roduct for quite some time yet.
For those of you ready to reminisce about a children's cartoon program featuring a bloke with a zip-up mouth, you've come to the wrong place. But if you want to know about a powerful, handy floppy disk replacement, then you've clicked correctly. The Zip drive. It is an interesting beast. I am a bit of an iomega fan, as they're gear always seems to be built to a high quality. So, when I bought my tasty translucent Apple iMac, I also threw in a Zip 100 external drive. I used to use it a lot, but my enjoyment of it has been reduced ever since I bought a CD-burner. That's because of price. A Zip drive may seem cheap when buying it: you can often pick up the USB model for between £50 and £60, but the disks are a nightmare in terms of price. Firstly, you have to buy the right disks. Check that they are Zip-100's rather than 250's, and make sure they are formatted for your type of computer (you can reformat them, but whats the point? Buy the ones for your computer to save you hassle). The drive itself is very easy to install. I just plugged it in, grabbed the Mac OS Zip drive installation CD-Rom and shoved it in. Up, up and away, before you can say 'Zip me up'. On the Mac, you insert a disk and it'll mount on your desktop. You can also password-protect disks and format them using Iomega Tools, which sits in your control strip. The Mac cleanly reads both PC and Mac formatted media. Meanwhile on the Micro$oft Windows platform, you'll need Windows 98. You just shove in the drive, load on the software, meaninglessly reboot 3 to 4 times, and install some more software, and your away. It'll mount in My Computer as the E: drive (or some other assigned drive), and you'll be able to copy stuff of the 'Removable Storage' drive. The PC reads it's own media, but point-blank refuses to open Mac-formatted media. And they say the PC uses open based standards, while the Mac doesn't.
The disks come in two different sizes, and two different formats: PC100 - PC-based storage of 100Mb PC250 - PC-based storage of 250Mb MAC100 - Macintosh-based storage for 100Mb MAC250 - Macintosh-based storage for 250Mb The machine I am reviewing, the Zip 100 USB can read MAC100 and PC100 disks. When using a Mac, it can open PC disks and Mac disks, but the PC can only open it's type of disk. A 250 drive can also read 100 disks, therefore if you use 100-based storage, can send to everybody. But 250-based disks cannot be read on a 100 drive. If your working daily with a Mac and doing things like QuarkXPress, Photoshop and large graphics / layouts, then if you want to send files, I'd reccomend Zip. Most designers, publishers and other Macintosh-based companies prefer to use a simple '100 disk than CD, due to it's compatibility. Meanwhile, if your working with larger documents than graphics, then I'd reccomend either buying a large Jaz drive (multiple gigabytes on a disk!) or investing in a CD-burner, which provide much cheaper storage: A MAC100 disk costs £9.95, and stores 100Mb which is approximately 9.95 pence per megabyte. A box of ten 650Mb CD-RW media costs 12.95: much, much less at 0.0001 pence per megabyte. With CD-R and CD-RW, media is so cheap you don't actually have to ask for it back, meanwhile whenever I have 'borrowed' Zip disks from work, the boxes are often laden down with 'Please Return to: ___' stickers. The downside with using CD-R or CD-RW based media is that you have to erase disks which takes time, and multi-session disks aren't yet good enough to be cross-platform compatible etc. Physically, the Zip drive is portable enough to cart around with you: not portable enough to use on the move, unless you get a bus-powered USB or Firewire one, or have it inbuilt in to your laptop (hey, PC owners!). The weightiest thi
ng about the package is probably the power supply. Not good for portable users, but quite good for using at home to take backups of work and shoving internet downloads on. You could also do things like have a disk for each of your different projects or clients, and keep all the work on their. Because then, as well as not relying on your hard drive, you can also cart the Zip disk around with you and work on it whenever your at a desk. As a floppy disk replacement, it probably is the most widespread, along with CD-R. CD-R has the upperhand because you can shove a CD in to pretty much any PC, wheras Zip is very widespread among designers and publishing houses, so if your in the graphic or web design market, get yourself a Zip 100 drive, or if you get a lot of work sent in on Zip, consider a 250. Although then the drive is a lot more expensive, as is the media. One day they'll have these on every machine as standard, and I will be most happy. But, I *need* to find a cheaper media supplier. Apple have already gone the first step in removing the 1.44Mb floppy drive, now it's just a matter of time before the PC industry copy those revolutionary steps of taking out outdated technology. Apparantely (according to my sources, humm, theRegister.co.uk), Intel are planning to remove the floppy, but what will be it's replacement? Superdrive? Good, but the manufacturer's don't support it anymore. Zip? Read the advantages above. Jaz? Like Zip but with very expensive and high-capacity media. CompactFlash, SmartMedia or MMC? Could be. Digital cameras are getting very popular, as are MP3 players, and these standards could be the way forward, although Flash storage seems rather expensive. CD-RW is the way forward, although Zip will always have a place in my heart. I only really use it to transfer stuff quickly between my Mac and my bro's PC. And for that function it's really good. If you need it
, it's good. But question yourself -WHY- do I need it, before you decide you do need it.
Some time ago, I decided it was time to purchase some form of removable storage device - I had started to find that many of my files were simply too large to store on floppy discs. It was fairly clear to me that it would either be a CD writer or a Zip drive as these seemed to be the two best storage devices around. A CD-R sounded good because you can store an impressive 650MB of data on it and most PCs have CD ROMs nowadays so compatibility wouldn't be a problem. However, at the time, CD-Rs were a lot more expensive than Zip drives. A Zip drive sounded good because it works in the same way as a floppy drive, but holds 100 or even 250 MB of data instead of the floppy's 1.4 MB. In the end, I opted for the least expensive option, I therefore chose the 100MB Zip drive which was a lot cheaper than the Zip 250 or the CD-R. I've been using the Zip drive for nearly a year now and have nothing but praise for it. I haven't lost a single bit of data in the whole time I've been using it and I have found that 300 MB (3 Zip discs were included in the pack I bought) has been more than enough space for my needs. I haven't had much use for some of the features such as automatic back-up where you can select certain files or folders to be copied to Zip whenever they are updated but I have found it useful when I have been working on something important that I wanted to be sure was safe just in case my computer crashed etc. (which isn't a rare occurrence on many PCs). Zip discs can also be password protected so that no-one can access any private information you put on them - whether it's your bank details or your diary and you can set the protection to activate automatically whenever you remove this disc (useful if you're likely to forget). If you need lots of storage space then I would recommend a CD-R or even a second hard drive, but if you're only looking to store a few files that are a couple o
f MBs in size then a CD-R is overkill and probably not worth the extra expense. I realise that over the last year, the price of CD writers has dropped considerably but they are still more expensive than Zip drives. There is also the question of reliability; as I stated earlier, I haven't lost any data in the whole time I've been using the drive whilst a friend of mine who has a CD-R has lost some files that he saved on CD so he saves important files on his Zip drive instead. If you're looking for bulk storage then opt for the CD-R, but if you're looking for reliable storage try the Zip drive.
Whether you get a Zip Drive or not depends on what you are going to use it for. Zip drives are very good at transfering data from one machine to another. Data is quicker to write than a CD-R and the bonus is it can be re-written as many times as you want. If however if you dont have a very big hard drive, and you want to use it for storing large amounts of data, its probably not a very good idea. Zip discs cost a lot more each, and have a smaller capacity compared to a CD. Yep they are much better for transfering data as even the Zip Discs themselves are much less prone to damage as CDs. I have to say I don't use the Zip Drive much, I don't know many other people that own one, so I usually end up sending smallish files by email. I do find it very useful for when I download things at work. There we have cable connection, and it saves me a lot of time at home if I can download it there and bring it home.
If there is one thing I have learned from dealing with computers, it is that however good a product seems, it is only as good as the company who manufactures it. I bought an Iomega External Zip Drive just over six months ago, and it was a great help in organising and storing information. However, six days ago it stopped working. I checked Iomega's web site and found that I had to return the item at my own expense, and had to fill in a form initially on the web site. However until I was sent a reply, I couldn't return the product. I made a point of saying I needed the Zip drive urgently. I received an immediate acknowledgement of my request for help, which told me that Iomega were working on a reply. Six days later I have not heard another thing. I have also e.mailed Iomega, filled in a customer support form on the US (parent company) site, tried getting through to someone on the telephone support system, but have still had not one word of help or information. As I needed access to my Zip discs, the only option I could see was to buy a new Zip drive - although this would be putting money into the hands of a company who are beneath contempt, as far as I am now concerned. As one last resort I tried taking the product back to Dixons, and getting them to return it. I didn't try this earlier as I am only too familiar with Dixon's attitude on returned goods - but amazingly, they replaced my Zip Dive with a brand new one, no questions asked. So, my faith has been restored in Dixons, but with no word from Iomega even now, all I can say is that the company is not worth dealing with.
Zip drives are modern replacements for the 3.5 inch floppies that most computers still use for removable storage devices. They allow you to store a great 100MB on one zip disc, which looks like a slightly fatter floppy disk. 100MB doesn't sound much in our world of 40GB hard drives, but lets not forget that it is about the same as 100 floppy disks, and is meant as a portable storage device, not a replacement for hard drives. As such it is great for backing up files, especially image files which tend to take up a large amount of disc space. The Zip drive is a lovely see-through blue design that is an obvious imitation of the iMac craze. It is a USB device, which means you simply plug it into a USB port into your computer, load the software that comes with it and away you go. The Zip drive can be connected and disconnected without having to reboot the computer, which is useful, so you can switch it on whenever you need to. The disks are quite expensive at around 70p each (a box of 10 will cost you around £7), but again, bear in mind they hold the equivalent of 100 floppies each, and thus they are cost effective. The drive works wonderful, with access speeds much faster than floppies are. The mechanism is quite noisy with lots of buzzing and whirring, though it is still quieter than normal floppy drives. All in all, this is an excellent device for backing up important files and documents, and the drive comes in at about £70. The great advantage about being an external drive is that it is great for transferring files from one computer to another, if you have two separate computers, or a desktop and a laptop. The sexy looks are a bonus!
IOMEGA ZIP-100 DRIVES If you’ve got a Zip100 drive that used to work, but doesn’t now – read this! We bought an Iomega Zip-100 drive and disks in about 1996, in 2000 it stopped working. I thought the usual – well that’s broke, I’ll have to buy a new one. But just for fun I phoned the technical help line printed on the underside of the main unit. After about 10mins on hold we were connected, I described the symptoms (it no longer worked, but, more importantly – when you put a disk in it just clicked and clicked about 10 times). I was amazed. The person on the other end of the phone, asked my address and said they would send a new drive. Over a week later one arrived! A totally new, FREE drive! It even came with a free disk! All that I had to do was then send the old one back (they pre paid the postage even!), and that was it! Apparently, I’ve now found that this is fairly common and affects a lot of the early models of the Zip-100, its been named ‘The curse of Clicking’, and Iomega made the decision to give everyone a replacement drive. I now know of three other people who have done the exact same thing. You might ask – why would they do this – no other company would – but in return, after you’ve been given a free drive – wouldn’t you buy future products from Iomega? I know I would – especially if you’re going to get the same sort of service on future products.
My zip drive doesnt look anything like the pic of the one that looks like a car, but its still pretty sheek. Its really thin, and can stand on its side, or on its base, so its very spacially economic. The fact that it is USB, makes it really really easy to connect, no more having to do up those fiddly screws on the com port plugs! It took me literally 10 minutes at most to plug it in and install the software, then i was zipping away! Although this is only 100mb, rather than the 250mb, its still pretty useful. I recently got a new computer, and i wanted to keep loads of the info on my old computer, but couldnt put the old hard drive into the new computer, so i rigged up the zip drive, and copied all the stuff i wanted via Zip disks! although it took a bit of time, it was worth it. The fact that it holds so much on one disk is really cool, and the disks are relatively inexpensive, so thats good. The drive has a few features, there is a copying feature, so u can copy disks really easily without having to copy the files onto the computer then back onto another disk, etc. You can also password protect your disks, so important information is safe. The drive is not that expensive, and i just find it really really handy, and im sure if you need to transport large amounts of information around, one of these will be even more useful so i suggest you do what the cabby says, 'you wanna get yourself one 'a them Iomega Zip disks mate!'
Well, the blurb claims "70 times more space" and "5 times faster" than the humble 3.5 floppy. Do a little maths and you'll realise that means it takes 14 times longer to fill a zip disk than a floppy. Assuming your gonna have enough stuff to want to fill one. I certainly did. Or two. Or three. Or fifty. Well, overall, not a bad little package, especially since the price is now coming down a bit in most shops. One main advantage is the ease with which you can plug it into another machine, enabling you to transport pretty large volumes of data (warez, warez, warez :) When deciding whether to buy this package, consider the cost of zip disks. If you're not going to use any more than those provided in the pack, fine. But if you're human :), consider a CD burner or larger hard disk instead.
If you are considering buying yourself a nice new Zip drive, don`t forget that they aren`t tremendously reliable. if you want to know mroe about this then search for the expression "Click of death" and you`ll get plenty of websites with enough detail for you. Basically the problem is that after a fair bit of use the drive starts acting up, clicking and not working correctly. There isn`t any known solution to this problem, so it is something you should beatr in mind before spending out on this particular piece of kit. Apart from that the zipd rive does exactly what it says on the box. it stores 100 megs (or 250 megs) on small disks, and you can swap the drive between different computers fairly easily. The down side is the huge cost of the media - £5 for a 100 meg disk. Compare this to 50 pence for a 650 meg CDR or £2 for a 650 meg CDRW disk and you have to wonder is it a good idea? Before spending your money, think about buying a CDR drive instead. It`ll cost a bit mroe upfront but wil probably save you money in the long run. Also think about what you need the drive for. The Zip drive can easily be swapped between different computers, whereas most CDRW drives are much more difficult to move between computer.
I needed to get some sort of removable storage device as I have an iMac and they don't have floppy drives, and as far as I'm concerned floppies are useless apart from the fact that they are universal. I'm very happy with my Zip drive on this computer for backups and so on, but for some reason I can't install the drivers off the CD onto anyone's PC so I can't just plug it in, so that pretty much nixes the transportability (is that a word?) It was useful when I was doing art and graphics at school where they had drives already installed though. Also, I would have got a CD Writer instead if they had been as widely available when I bought this because CDs hold much more and are universal, and I've got a rather large MP3 collection for which I am too stingy to by a portable player for! I think Iomega realise that this type of storage doesn't have as many applications anymore because they have recently released a CD Writer It seems very well made so I think I might get the Iomega CD writer next!
The Zip drive is a fairly old bit of technology that just keeps on getting re-hashed and brought back out again in a slightly different version. This is essentially the first kind of Zip drive that came out, with it`s 100 Megabyte capacity. The drive itself is fairly slow relative to your hard0drive, although it is a huge improvment over the old parallel port version, which was rediculously slow. The drive itself, along with the disks, are a nice size. They are small enough to be fairly easy to store, move and fit onto your desktop, but they aren`t so small that you`ll lose them all the time. The hardware isn`t as reliable as you might like however - search for the term "click of death" on the net and you`ll find a lot of stories about Iomega drives acting weirdly. If you are prepared to put up with this risk (something I haven`t exerienced myself I must be honest) then you should be quite happy with a zip drive. The biggest problwem it has is that CD writers are getting so cheap that the questions arrises - "Why spend £5 on a 100 meg disk, when I can buy 2-3 650 Meg CD-RW disks for the same price?", and the drives aren`t that much more expensice. I suppose it depends what you need itfor. If you have to swap data between a lod of PC`s then the zip drive might be god for you. Otherwise have a long hard look at buying yourself a CD writer.
Aside from being very reasonable in price, the Iomega Zip Drive is a fast and simple way for removable storage. Each disk will hold up to 100 MegaBytes of information, which allows you to store very large backup files. The entire unit is so small, you can take it from home to work without any trouble at all. In my opinion, the best feature about this particular Zip Drive is it's USB interface. Hot-swappable USB lets you quickly plug and unplug the device, without having to deal with those serial Zip Drives where you have to line up the pins to fit it in your computer port. Why do you think USB has the slogan 'plug & play'? The Zip software enables it so all you have to do is pop the disk into the drive without having to open any program first. After you put the zip disk in, it appears right on your desktop! From there you can drag/copy files from hard drive to disk within seconds! In addition, the installation software adds a little icon to your control strip, so you can manage and administer your file transactions from your desktop. It even has the option to record hours of your continuous speech (beneficial for meetings or other events).
I find my Zip 100 drive very useful, especially as i often have to transfer large files between the PCs of my friends and myself. My Zip 100 drive means that I can easily do this, without having to use the fiddly Microsoft BackUp program. I used to have an internal Zip 100 drive, but it broke so I now have external. I think that the internal drive is better if you have a spare slot, because it takes up no extra desk space, and it is faster when trasferring large files. Also, it is cheaper. I would reccomend the internal version to anyone looking to buy a Zip 100 drive.