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Joy Division

(Iomega) ZIP drives & VIA southbridges

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I'm at a loss here. I've been aware of the problem ever since I upgraded from my trusty K6 to an Athlon, but now it's starting to bug me.

Ever since I upgraded, I cannot write to my ZIP drive. Well, that's not entirely correct, as I can write a couple of very little files without much problems, but as soon as I'm writing a more reasonable amount of data, my system nearly halts and the LED of the drive indicates every 20 seconds that there is still some activity left. But it goes on like this forever. Ctrl-Alt-Del brings the solution. Hooray!

1. My system

  • AMD Athlon 1200C

256MB PC-133

MSI K7T Turbo (no RAID) (MS-6330 v3.0) (VIA KT133A + 686B southbridge)

Hercules GF2 MX

Maxtor DiamondMax 60+ 20GB on Primary IDE

LG DVD-ROM on Secondary IDE, master

Iomega ZIP100 on Secondary IDE, slave

The ZIP drive is in "Slave A:" mode, but it shows up in Win2000 right in front of my DVD drive... It is "A:" in Win98 though.

In the BIOS I fixed the secondary slave drive to PIO mode, as is often suggested on some of the "solutions" I read.

2. MS-DOS 7

  • Booting to the MS-DOS prompt using F8 on bootup... Reading from the ZIP is perfectly OK, writing is next to impossible. Booting from a ZIP disk doesn't give any trouble.

3. Windows 98

  • After a normal installation of the latest VIA 4-in-1's, my ZIP drive sucks. As always, reading is OK, writing is not.

Fortunately, when I install the latest IDE driver from viahardware.com, the sun is shining again :D My ZIP works like a charm.

4. Windows 2000

  • As usual, reading isn't a problem. But concerning writing to it:

Clean W2K install: won't work

Service Pack 2: won't work

VIA 4-in-1: won't work

latest IDE driver AND some Iomega driver: it writes, albeit sloowly. At least, it's better than nothing. BUT!!! All of a sudden, I can't extract any more music from my DVD-drive... Being a music fanatic, this is a major downside for me. :evil:

5. Windows XP

Sigh. I'm very happy with my system (after losing the SB Live! that is) but I thoroughly despise floppies and I only want my ZIP in there...

As long as I was running a multi-boot system I could always fire up Win98 if I needed the ZIP, but I'm an all-2000 man now but the ZIP/VIA combination doesn't like it...

I'm sure there must be many of you who ran into the same problems. I hope somebody found a great fix for it. I'm not aware if the issue comes up with ZIP drives from other manufacturers or with the 250MB models.

Thanks,

JD

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From the "Feelings on SR's demise" thread a while back:

I'm just an average guy with an average life (sort of...) who occasionally feels like he can give some assistance to people in IT-related trouble.

Knowing that if the need would arise, I would get a lot of help back as well, help from knowledgeable people who don't mind getting into colorful discussions once in a while, just to come to the right solution or conclusion.

Well... so much for my thoughts about SR... :?

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You want a fix? Simple, ditch the *$E*&%* Via chipset, get an Intel-based mobo!!!

Remember, Ian Curtis is dead and no longer posts to these forums!!!

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Can't add much but i fear...

What really disturbs me is the fact that you can't write to your LS120 Zip under dos which would suggest that your problem is hardly OS dependant.

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You want a fix?  Simple, ditch the *$E*&%* Via chipset, get an Intel-based mobo!!!

I think I'd be better off ditching the IDE ZIP in favour of a USB version then. Cheaper, easier and handy.

Remember, Ian Curtis is dead and no longer posts to these forums!!!

Ian Curtis may not be among us anymore, however, listening to the latest New Order album I believe that Peter Hook and Bernard Sumner sound way too good to be dead.

My sig isn't Joy Division BTW, but Celestial Season.

What really disturbs me is the fact that you can't write to your LS120 Zip under dos which would suggest that your problem is hardly OS dependant.

You're right. I had hoped someone had some kind of fix for the issue (it's possible as the Win98 drivers work fine), but I guess I was too optimistic.

Thank you for your input.

JD

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You want a fix? Simple, ditch the *$E*&%* Iomega Zip drive, get a drive that works!

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Tannin is a little blunt, but he's absolutely right about Zip drives. They are terrible damn things! Cause endless trouble in the workshop, and out of it. Iomega are well and truly up there on list of hardware manufacturers that the world would be a lot better off without. Just off the top of my head, and in rough order of demerit:

[*] Compaq

[*] Rambus

[*] PC Chips

[*] Hewlett-Packard

[*] Iomega

[*] Creative (decent hardware - but the drivers!)

[*] Mirage (world's crappiest monitors)

[*] Connexant (internal division only)

[*] (Your selection here)

There are some driver fixes from Iomega if you look hard enough for them, but the fixes themselves break other things. Believe me, I've been down that road, at great and painful length. The results you report are exactly in line with the ones I got. Essentially, you need to get rid of one of your conflicting devices, and the obvious candidate is the Zip drive - because Zip drives break all sorts of hardware and software combinations, not just Windows 2000 and certain of the VIA chipsets. Zip drives have problems with everything and, as Tannin said, the reason is simple. It is because Iomega are right up there with the all time champions of crud.

(Err, do I need to make that a little plainer? Or are you reading between the lines and getting my drift already?)

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