Ottawa PC Users' Group, Inc.
Product Review by Duncan Petrie
The February 1998 issue carried a review of Iomega's
Zip drive. This article will update that information, add
the latest (I hope) news and discuss the infamous "Click
Iomega's latest additions to the family are the
internal IDE and the Zip Plus. The internal drive can now
be purchased by end users. Some local dealers offer it
for less than $100: a far cry from its competitors.
Initially, it was an OEM only product: to get one you had
to purchase it as part of a system from a supporting
Still, to use it as a boot disk, it requires either
BIOS support or the ZpA utility from www.blueskyinnovations.com.
If you have a recently constructed computer, have a look
in the BIOS for possible Zip support. Norton Utilities (www.symantec.com)
offers, in conjunction with Iomega, an alternate means to
create a system boot disk. Norton Zip Rescue is a free
download (Prenzr.exe) from Iomega's ftp site.
Parallel and/or SCSI?
The Zip Plus was intended to connect to either a
parallel port or a SCSI host adapter. After a lot of
problems, Iomega rewrote the operating instructions;
basically, use the supplied data cable without exception
or accessories. Details are available from Iomega's web
Iomega's file transfer site, ftp://ftp.iomega.com/pub/english,
offers the latest drivers and utilities. Here, files are
free - download charges excepted. This site has posted a
series of new versions of Zip drivers and utilities for
Windows 9x and NT. Most of these files are dated 2 Sept
98 and include: Ioware9x.exe (tools), Backup.exe (1-Step
Backup and Restore) and Copy9x.exe (Copy Machine). The
previously mentioned Norton Zip Rescue is also available
from this archive.
Audio, Jaz, etc.
Download RecordIt (Recordit.exe) to record CD-ROM
tracks or your voice (using a microphone) directly to a
Zip disk. This site also supports other Iomega products (for
example, Jaz and Ditto drives) under a variety of
operating systems, including: DOS, Windows 3.1, Windows 9x,
Windows NT, OS/2, and MacIntosh. It appears that cross-platform
users can now obtain driver and utility support for all
platforms at no additional cost.
For users of 1-Step-Backup prior to the 2 September
release, be certain that you have installed the upgrade
patch file (1stepup.exe) before you attempt to use this
Zip (and Jaz) afficionados must visit the "unofficial,
alternate Iomega Zip and Jaz site": www.juip.com. Here you
will find current information for Zip, Jaz and Ditto tape
drives. Many drivers and tools are archived here: not
only for PCs but also for Macs. These programs are the
same as those provided by Iomega. Recently, the site has
added support for the Syquest SparQ and SyJet drives:
again, both PC and Mac. For those who want to use their
Iomega drive with both platforms this site may offer
another location to obtain the drivers for the second
platform. Iomega, until recently, charged for a Zip disk
loaded with the drivers for the second platform or a
replacement Zip disk with the tools for your operating
system if you unfortunately deleted your sole copy.
The invaluable resource at this site is the message
boards (for all the products identified above - PC and
Mac). Post a description of your problem and you will
receive a pertinent response: often within an hour.
Compared to Iomega, this is a "steal" - you
must always have your credit card at the ready to get
help from Iomega.
Click of Death
Iomega's infamous "Click of Death (CoD)" has
produced widespread publicity for Iomega - all of it
negative. This annoyance (to put it mildly, I am sure, if
you are affected) is discussed in considerable detail at www.juip.com.
Another site is the "unofficial Click of Death"
web site at www.thirdeyesp.com/jatin/iomega.
This site also offers a message board; however, it is
interested solely in CoD issues. You can also listen to a
recording of the CoD sound.
Steve Gibson (of Spinrite fame - a disk drive utility
that diagnoses and repairs faults) has a website at www.spinrite.com that
provides a wealth of technical information to answer:
"How does a Zip drive work?" He has researched
the CoD extensively and has posted the results of his
research into this problem on his website. Without
reprinting the data, he has made two important
observations. First, the rate of return (due to CoD) is
very significantly higher with the more recent production
runs. This suggests that quality control, from ramping up
production to meet the demand, has suffered. Second, the
CoD is not the problem, per se; it is the symptom. The
sound is made by the drive heads attempting to locate the
tracks that are required for drive initialization. The
problem is not the click; instead, it is the defect with
the media that initiates the futile hunt.
There is some immediate good news and a promise of
light at the end of the tunnel. Gibson has offered a
freeware utility (TiP.exe) that checks the health - or
lack - of Zip and Jaz media and the drives themselves.
This program is non- destructive of data and runs in
Windows 95/98 or Windows NT 3.5/4/5. The testing
performed is more comprehensive than the utilities
presently installed on your system provide (accessed
through My Computer... right-click the Zip drive icon...
select Properties... Tools). This file is also available
for download from the PUB II files area.
Ultimately, Gibson intends to produce a utility (not
free) that will detect and return to service the majority
of CoD disks. Incidently, this utility will be useful on
many brands of high capacity, removable media hardware.
There will remain, however, a small residual of drives
that do have actual mechanical problems: these cannot be
repaired (at least not with this software).
Hardware from Iomega Corporation
Web site: http://www.iomega.com
Copyright and Usage
Computer Users' Group (OPCUG), Inc.
3 Thatcher Street,
Ottawa, ON K2G 1S6
The opinions expressed
in these reviews may not necessarily
represent the views of the OPCUG or its members.
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Page created: 29-Oct-98