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Some notes we've thrown together.

Here are a few articles we've prepared on technical topics which other people may find helpful.

Using a SCSI Zip Drive on classic Apple Macintosh computers :


Last Updated : May 2008

The ideal storage media for moving files back and forth between a classic Mac computer would seem to be a ZIP drive. You can often pick up a SCSI ZIP drive for $5 on eBay. The Mac can use this drive like it would a native hard drive, except that it is far bigger than the 20MB hard drives common to that era of computers. If you have a SCSI interface on your modern desktop computer, you can just move the same drive back and forth between the Mac and your PC. If not, you can always pick up an IDE or USB ZIP drive for equally low cost on eBay. It is really convenient to be able to pop a ZIP disk into your modern PC, download a ton of new software packages onto it, and then quickly and easily put the same disk into your Mac's ZIP drive and start using those programs.

Reasons to use ZIP Disks with classic Macs


ZIP disks aren't the fastest drives in the world compared to some modern disks in 2008, but they are faster than most all of the ancient SCSI hard disks these machines originally came with. They also have the advantage of being modular and potentially cheaper and easier to find. If a ZIP disk goes bad, you just replace the disk in your existing ZIP drive. If the ZIP drive itself goes bad, you can just replace the drive but keep your disks.

Getting your classic Mac to recognize your ZIP Drive


If you hook up a SCSI 100MB ZIP drive to a classic Macintosh computer, it will not seem to recognize that the drive is present or attached, even with a Mac (HFS) formatted disk inserted. In order for the Mac to be able to see the drive, you must install the Iomega Zip driver software into the Mac OS. I have found that version 4.2 of this driver works great for older Macs. On MacOS v6.x.x, you just put this file into the System folder. On Mac OS v7.x.x, you put the file into the System folder, inside the Extensions folder. To save someone else the aggravation in the future, I will mirror a compresssed copy of this file so you can download it here.

Working with Mac-formatted ZIP Disks on modern Windows PCs


Along with the ZIP drive on your PC, the other piece you'll need to create and manage data for a Macintosh is a software component. MediaFour's MacDrive software lets you use your PC to read and write to floppies, CDs, ZIP disks and hard drives using the Macintosh's native HFS filesystem. Combining this software with a ZIP drive gets you everything you need to load up those ZIP disks from your PC with software you find on the internet for your classic Mac. This is a modern program that is a lot more versatile than the MACETTE program provided above. It does cost money, but is well worth it for moving data back and forth to these classic Mac systems. They offer a free trial so you can test it out.

One note to keep in mind -- if you format a ZIP disk on your classic Mac, the MacDrive software seems to be able to read from it and write to it when you insert that disk into your PC's ZIP drive. However, if you format a ZIP disk on your PC's ZIP drive using MacDrive, the classic Mac will not be able to recognize it. It seems to be some quirk in the formatting or initializing of the disk. So, if in doubt, format your ZIP disks on your Mac before using them to move programs back and forth from your PC.



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