6GB...100mb at a time.
July 5, 2007 5:48 PM   Subscribe

What can I do with all these old ZIP disks?

In an office filing cabinet that no one had opened in years, I just discovered a giant pile of Zip media and an apparently working Zip drive.

About 25 100mb disks, and maybe 15 250mb disks.
Some are still in their wrappers.
Drive is a 250, so all media will work. No click of death. Parallel interface, not USB.

What do I do with 'em? (Besides eBay, 40 copies of DSL/puppylinux, or skeet practice)

Googling just shows me how hated Zip and Iomega has been in the past, but no cool uses / projects for them.

So I turn to the hive mind:
What's your use for many 100mb - 250mb storage units?
What comes in chunks that size? It's been almost a decade since I used a storage unit that small...

Only thing I can think of is to network share the Zip drive, then use the XP Files and Settings Transfer Wizard to make a Zip disk backup copy of every users' profile in the office? (I don't back up anyone's C: now - customize all you want, but crash it and it's back to a fresh install of the company programs.) Cute, but that's just more work for me. Not even sure that a profile will fit in 100mb.

But C'mon, there's got to be something better than that.
I could sneak it all home for a cool idea, but what? Ports galore in the office, though, so preferable for use there.
posted by bartleby to Computers & Internet (18 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Am I doing the math right? Is that really only 6+ gigs of media? There are far more efficient back-up plans.

I'm thinking ... art project.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:56 PM on July 5, 2007

Excuse me ... art project.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:57 PM on July 5, 2007

Give them to someone with a Yamaha SU-700.
posted by pompomtom at 6:01 PM on July 5, 2007

You could use 'em to make backups that you could ... I dunno, keep somewhere? Do you have a fire safe, or safe-deposit box?

Honestly I'm stretching to come up with anything. I have the same issue, both with lots of Zip disks I have around, and also a few Castlewood Orb discs (which are 1.2GB, almost usable). There's very little interesting that you can do with them, that you can't do more easily and cheaply with CD-RWs/DVD-RWs.

If you have any important files that total to under 100MB, you could use them for rotating backups; learn media-swapping strategies like the Tower of Hanoi.

If you're outrageously paranoid, you could backup your important files onto both CDs and Zips; that way you'd have both magnetic and optical media, although I don't know what the lifespan of Zips are supposed to be.
posted by Kadin2048 at 6:27 PM on July 5, 2007

With places like Mozy offering 2GB of free online backup, might using these be a time-suck?

Art project, definitely. Or perhaps just using them for coasters. Or throwing contests.

Just make sure to keep one in a box with old cell phones, remote controls, and such so you can show the grandkids.
posted by asuprenant at 6:33 PM on July 5, 2007 [1 favorite]

Ok, so that floppy disk bag is pretty cool. I was thinking that you could probably make a neat Halloween costume out of them as well. You could go as Zip Disk Man or something. Be creative!
posted by I_love_the_rain at 6:34 PM on July 5, 2007

I use a Jazz disc to stabilize a bookshelf on our old, uneven floor. I took the label out-- you can hardly see it.
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:35 PM on July 5, 2007 [1 favorite]

A parallel-port ZIP drive will be hopelessly slow. I suggest the circular file.
posted by Malor at 6:43 PM on July 5, 2007

Now I know what to do with my box of floppies (they've made it through three moves through three states - don't ask me why).
posted by desjardins at 6:45 PM on July 5, 2007

Why, RAID-5 of course.
posted by odinsdream at 6:49 PM on July 5, 2007

I wouldn't back anything up on Zip disks. What happens if your Zip drive breaks, you need the backup, and it's gotten really hard to find another Zip drive? I don't know how likely that is, but it's not going to happen anytime soon for CDs, DVDs, or online backup.

Art Project.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 6:56 PM on July 5, 2007

Zip disk striped RAID! See the mega floppy project for inspiration and details.
posted by chrisamiller at 7:18 PM on July 5, 2007

we had an assload of them at work. We put felt on 'em and turned the fucking things into coasters.

No offense, but storing data on zip disks now is stupid, man. Don't do that.
posted by boo_radley at 7:37 PM on July 5, 2007

CoolTim: Forget that, what happens when you migrate to 64bit? If I can't get printer drivers, then I bloody well bet you can't get zip disk drivers... some people actually still use printers!

How about you send them to a museum?

Or, I know... Time capsule! Media of the distant past! (Intended to be unreadable.)
posted by anaelith at 8:20 PM on July 5, 2007

Jacob's ladder.
posted by dmd at 8:58 PM on July 5, 2007 [2 favorites]

you know at carnivals they have those throwing games where you try to throw beanbags into tiny little holes, or knock down bottles. i'm thinking a carnival-esque throwing game of some sort. everyone likes an excuse to throw stuff.
posted by amethysts at 9:41 PM on July 5, 2007

Dude, just throw 'em out. Move on to something more satisfying. Even if you make something out of them, then you gotta find a place to put /that/, dust it, etc. To me, nothing is more inspiring than empty shelf/floor space.

Siiiimplifyyyy, man!
posted by Wild_Eep at 6:55 AM on July 6, 2007

I've got the same issue: 20 or so Zip disks. They're still sold for $8 or more in computer stores, so it seems like a shame to throw them out. If you put them on eBay, they'll have few takers, except perhaps some Nigerian scammers. If you post this in "Ask Slashdot," you'll get the usual "install a lean Linux distro" responses.

I don't have an answer for the OP, but I'd like to see if there's any more ideas.
posted by elmwood at 8:20 AM on July 6, 2007

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