Old technology filter: Zip disk stuck in drive
May 31, 2011 3:19 PM   Subscribe

I've got a pile of old Zip disks I'd like to investigate... but modern computers haven't got RS232 interfaces, which is what my Zip drive has. Boo! However, I discovered that my wife has a USB ZIp drive! Yay! But there is a problem...

...which is, there's a Zip disk stuck in my wife's USB drive, and when I power up the drive, I get the old click... click... click. Well, maybe the disk is bad... but I can't eject the Zip disk from the drive. I seem to remember that there was a way to do this, but damned if I can remember. Help?

I suppose I could go the route of getting an adaptor from my non-USB drive but I'd rather not spend the money if I can avoid it.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I think Zip drives had a tiny hole at the back to force an eject. Just stick a paper clip in the hole and it should pop out. Ah, here it is. Is the drive like the one at the top on that page?
posted by dayintoday at 3:24 PM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

Damn. Dayintoday beat me to it. That's the time-honored way of getting the disc out.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:25 PM on May 31, 2011

Response by poster: No, that's a non-USB Zip drive. I know that trick... My drive looks like that, but my drive isn't the one with the stuck disk; my wife's is. And there is no pinhole there.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 3:27 PM on May 31, 2011

Response by poster: Oops... my bad. It was there... that hole... but not where I was used to looking for it on my non USB drive. Inserted paperclip and the disk popped right out, Thanks!
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 3:28 PM on May 31, 2011

Beware the Click of Death!
posted by Confess, Fletch at 3:45 PM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

OP: I believe there was no Zip drive with an RS232 interface; yours probably uses the IEEE 1284 interface, aka centronics / parallel. Don't you have a parallel port on your computer?
posted by knz at 3:55 PM on May 31, 2011

knz seems to be right. But I'll note for information's sake that your computer's motherboard probably has an RS232 header; it's just not attached to a physical serial port. An RS232 bracket is cheap and could be installed by pretty much anyone comfortable with a screwdriver.
posted by Zed at 4:05 PM on May 31, 2011

There were parallel-port Zip drives and SCSI Zip drives ... no serial, though. The parallel and SCSI models both used DB-25 ports but of opposite genders. You can tell the SCSI models because there's a switch on the back, in between the two ports, for selecting the ID (either 6 or 7, IIRC). I think there's another switch back there to turn termination on and off.

If anyone can make use of a SCSI one, I probably have one or two sitting around. Though it may be easier to get a USB one off of eBay than much around with SCSI if your system isn't already set up with it.
posted by jtuttle at 4:38 PM on May 31, 2011

If it turns out the USB zip drive is experiencing the dreaded "click of death" you might still be able to revert to the old drive, but you'll need to buy a usb adapter. I would first determine whether your drive is a scsi or parallel model (using jtuttle's description about the back switches).
posted by samsara at 5:08 AM on June 1, 2011

(although refurbished zip drives are fairly cheap as well)
posted by samsara at 5:11 AM on June 1, 2011

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