Q&A: Accessing Zip drives

Q Much of my old work was backed up to Zip 100 drives, which I used to access with a long-dead Mac. Is there any way that I can access files on them now?

A The Iomega Zip 100 drive was available with a range of different interfaces, the last models offering USB 2.0.

Admittedly an outside chance, you may find that a modern Mac is compatible with these, although in the first instance try it with an unimportant cartridge in the drive. You should be able to locate a suitable drive on eBay for a trivial cost.

If that does not work, but you can find an old Mac which does connect to the Zip drive, you could use that as an intermediary, to copy files from cartridges onto CD-R disks, say.

If all else fails, get a bureau to move all your important documents before even they cease to support these old drives. Advertisers in Mac magazines may offer this service, and there are specialists such as Zip Disk Transfer. As they charge per disk, if you can get your own system to work that will be far cheaper if you want to transfer documents from many different cartridges.

Comments If you have important files archived on old media which are unsupported by current Mac systems, it is worth moving them over before that becomes difficult or costly. The best time to do this is before your own hardware fails, or becomes impossible to use.

The later that you leave it, the more costly and difficult it will become.

Updated from the original, which was first published in MacUser volume 29 issue 10, 2013.