Special Questions & Troubleshooting



These are answers to some specific common questions that don't fit well into other sections of this website. If you're having a problem that isn't addressed here, then try going through the sections that deal with your type of drive and the software for the operating system (Windows 9x and/or DOS) that you're using. Also, see the section on General Usage Tips. Following the advice in those sections might fix your problem even if your problem isn't mentioned specifically.



I can't fill a disk to its full capacity

This is perhaps the single most-common "problem" experienced by new Zip/Jaz users. Chances are, this is happening because you're trying to put too many files in the root directory of the disk. The solution is to create subdirectories, and store your files in them. This Microsoft Knowledge Base article explains.

A related topic would be the actual capacity of the disks. Computers are binary (they just use 1s and 0s), so a computer's math is based on powers of 2. For marketing purposes, a manufacturer will usually use decimal numbers since the disk capacity will "sound" larger this way. For example, Zip 100 disks are advertised as having a 100 MB capacity. A MB, in this case, means 1 million bytes; and the capacity of a Zip disk is, in fact, 100,431,872 bytes. For computers, however, a MB is 2^20 or 1,048,576 bytes rather than 1 million. So, in computer terms, a Zip disk holds 100,431,872/1,048,576 MB which is why Windows reports a 95.7 MB capacity for a Zip disk.


My drive letters are messed up in Windows 95/98

To set a drive letter in Win9x, go to Device Manager; and select the drive under Disk drives (look under CDROM for a CD drive). Click on Properties and then Settings. Under the Reserved drive letters section, set the Start drive letter to the letter that you want that drive to use; make sure the End drive letter is the same. Get all your drives set the way you want them, and then restart Windows.

Or if you have IomegaWare 2.x installed, you can use the IomegaWare shortcut to run commander.exe. Then, select the Get Help tab, and use the Drive Letter Manager.

Note that these solutions will not work with drives that are under BIOS control or with drives for which you've loaded real-mode (DOS) drivers in Config.sys or Autoexec.bat. In these cases, the drive letters will be assigned before Windows gets started. But if a Zip, Jaz, or CD drive is properly installed, you should be able to set its drive letter this way (if you can't, then try rebooting). If you are loading drivers from Config.sys or Autoexec.bat when booting to Win9x, then you should read this.


How do I stop my Zip disk from ejecting automatically on Shut Down?

The automatic ejection of Zip disks when Win9x shuts down is feature of Imgicon.exe which is loaded by the Iomega Disk Icons shortcut in the StartUp folder.

For immediate but temporary effect, press Ctrl-Alt-Del to access the Close Program window, and close Imgicon. To permanently stop the automatic ejection, remove the Iomega Icons shortcut from the StartUp folder; note that this will also prevent the display of the special icons for Iomega drives in Explorer and My Computer (you'll just get the generic Removable Disk icon).

If you have a recent-enough version of the Iomega software, there's an alternate method which won't cost you the special icons. Read about ZipShutdownEject (in the Registry) under the next topic. Setting its value to 0 should disable the automatic ejection on shutdown.

If you do disable the auto-eject feature, then don't forget to eject your Zip disk before powering down the drive. Powering a Zip drive off/on with a disk inside is potentially hazardous to the disk and the drive.


I can't get my Zip disk to eject automatically on Shut Down

As explained above, this is a feature of Imgicon.exe which should be loading via the Iomega Disk Icons shortcut in the StartUp folder. With older versions of IomegaWare, the auto-eject feature would kick in when Win9x shut down for any reason (including restarting). However, it seems that more recent versions will only auto-eject when you actually select Shut down from the Start | Shut Down menu.

If Imgicon.exe is running (press Ctrl-Alt-Del to check) and the Zip disk still won't auto-eject, then you may need to edit a value in the Registry. It's always a good idea to backup System.dat and User.dat before editing the Registry.

Start Regedit.exe. Select Find from the Edit menu. Enter "ZipShutdownEject" in the box, and click the Find Next button. It should find it under

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Iomega Corporation\Extensions

See what the value of ZipShutdownEject is. It should be 1. If it's 0, then you'll need to change it to 1 for your disks to auto-eject on shutdown. To do that, select ZipShutdownEject by left-clicking on it. Select Modify from the Edit menu, and enter 1 into the Value data box. Click OK, and close Regedit. If your Zip disk still doesn't auto-eject, then you may have some kind of configuration problem (or perhaps a software conflict). Try going over the configuration issues for your type of Zip drive elsewhere on this site.


My Zip/Jaz icon keeps changing to other icons

There's some kind of bug that relates to Imgicon.exe (see the previous two questions) that can cause apparently random icons to be displayed for Iomega drives. A quick but temporary fix is to press Ctrl-Alt-Del to access the Close Program window; close Imgicon, and then select the Iomega Icons shortcut from the Start/Programs/StartUp folder. Your icon(s) should return to normal. A permanent fix would be to remove the Iomega Icons shortcut from the StartUp folder. That would give your drive(s) the generic Removable Disk icon, but it would also disable the auto-eject on shutdown feature for Zip disks. You would then need to remember to eject your Zip disk before powering down or risk possible damage to the disk and/or drive (or else use a 3rd-party auto-eject program to replace Imgicon.exe).


My drive doesn't show up in Explorer or My Computer, but I can see it in Device Manager

Go to Control Panel, and start Microsoft's Tweak UI Powertoy. On its My Computer tab, make sure the drive letter your drive is using is checked (just check them all). Any drive letter that's not checked there will be "hidden" in Explorer and My Computer. If you're running Win98, be sure to use the Win98 version of Tweak UI; look here.


Can I read Mac-formatted disks on a PC?

Yes, but you'll need special software. Here are some options:


My Zip drive is clicking! Or what is Click of Death?

This is by far the best place to go for information on this sort of thing. Steve Gibson, the author of SpinRite, has developed a free diagnostic tool to test the reliability of Zip & Jaz drives. The TIP utility (and Steve's website) is loaded with good information on this subject.


Can I format a Zip or Jaz disk with FAT32?

With a Zip disk, don't even try it. The primary advantage of FAT32 is that it uses smaller cluster sizes with large disks which may eliminate a lot of wasted space. But this isn't an issue with Zip disks.

A Jaz disk can apparently be formatted with FAT32; I've done it, and haven't had any trouble with it yet. There's a Microsoft Knowledge Base article which explains how to do it. After I followed the advice there and FDISKed the Jaz cartridge for FAT32, I found that I had to format it by opening a Win9x DOS window and using the DOS FORMAT command. If I tried the Iomega short format, the disk ended up formatted with FAT16.

Although I haven't had any trouble with my FAT32-formatted Jaz disks yet, I still consider it to be somewhat risky. Iomega's Manual.exe file warns not to use FDISK or the DOS FORMAT command on removable disks (although Refman.exe says the DOS format is OK on disks that have already been formatted with the Iomega Tools software).

Also be aware that Iomega's DOS drivers do not support a FAT32-formatted Jaz disk. The only way I've been able to access a FAT32 Jaz disk in DOS mode is by allowing the drive to be controlled by a SCSI BIOS (as a fixed HD). And for some reason, loading the ASPI manager for my Adaptec AHA-2940UW SCSI controller prevented even that from working. So if I want to access my FAT32 Jaz disk in DOS mode, I am unable to access any other SCSI devices apart from hard disks.


How can I write to the Tools disk?

The Tools disk is a dual-format PC/Mac disk, and it comes with write protection enabled. When installing the Tools software from the Tools disk on a PC, a program called Reclaim.exe should run to remove the Mac portion of the disk and disable the write protection. If you don't install from the Tools disk (or if something goes wrong with the installation), then this won't happen.

If you don't want the Mac software, then you can run the Reclaim program manually as explained in Manual.exe. If you don't want any of the Tools software on the disk, and if you already have the Tools installed, then you could use Iomega's long format to format the disk; the long format can be performed on any disk regardless of its protection status. Another option, if you have the Tools installed, is to use the disk's password to remove the write protection. The password should be "APlaceForYourStuff". However, I wonder whether it would be a good idea to begin writing to a disk that still has a Mac-formatted section on it.


Why does my Jaz drive write so slowly?

By default, the Jaz drive will verify all data that it writes; and this will cause it to write considerably more slowly than it reads. If you want to disable this safety feature, you can do so using the Iomega Tools software.

In Win9x, look on the Iomega tab(s) under the Properties for the Jaz drive in My Computer. You should find a checkbox there which can be used to disable write verification (this option doesn't exist for Zip drives). Just uncheck the box to disable it, and click OK.

In DOS mode, if you've installed the Iomega SCSI Software for DOS you can enter the following from the command line (or place it in a batch file):

C:\IOMEGA\SCSIUTIL N X: (where X: is the letter that your Jaz drive is using).

Note that if you're using a 2GB Jaz drive with a 1GB Jaz disk, it's still going to write slowly. This is because the data tracks on the 1GB disk are much wider than the 2GB drive can write, so it has to make several passes to fill up a track. The read speed in this case doesn't seem to be affected though.


I'm getting an "Unable to save data" message (while trying to set the drive's sleep time or another setting on an Iomega tab under the drive's Properties in My Computer)

This means something went wrong with your software installation - perhaps you were running something in the background when you installed it. What happens is that a necessary Registry key doesn't get created. By using Regedit.exe to create it yourself, you can fix this problem. It's always a good idea to backup System.dat and User.dat before editing the Registry.

Start Regedit.exe, and look for the following location:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Iomega Corporation\Extensions\StartupPrefs

You're probably missing the StartupPrefs key. What you need to do is create it. Select the Extensions key in the left pane of Regedit, then open the Edit menu; and select Key from the New list. Name the new key "StartupPrefs". Now, close Regedit. Next time you try to use something on the Startup tab where you were getting the error message before, it should create a subkey under StartupPrefs where your settings will be stored.


My drive was off when I booted. How do I get Win9x to see it without rebooting?

If you have an external SCSI drive, then you should be able to get it recognized by going to Device Manager and clicking on the Refresh button. If this doesn't work, then perhaps some device with auto termination did not set its termination correctly with the drive off. I think this is one good reason not to use the external Jaz drive's Auto termination setting; it only works when the drive is powered on.

If you have a parallel-port drive, then the Refresh method won't work. You'll need to go to Device Manager; select the Iomega Parallel Port Interface under SCSI controllers, and click on Remove. Then, you'll need to re-install it. Removing the Iomega Parallel Port Interface will also remove any Adapter settings you had entered for it, so you should reset them after re-installing it. Additionally, if you had set your drive to use a specific letter, you may be forced to use a different letter until you've restarted Windows.


I deleted a file, and it's not in the Recycle Bin. How do I get it back?

The Recycle Bin doesn't work with removable drives, but you may be able to recover your deleted file using the DOS UNDELETE command. It's important that you don't write anything to the disk after deleting the file as it may be overwritten. And if you deleted the directory that contained the file, then UNDELETE won't be able to recover it (probably not, anyway; see the DOS help file).

I think it's best to use UNDELETE in DOS mode. If you want to run it in a Win9x DOS box, first switch to the disk you want to work with; and enter the LOCK command. Enter the UNLOCK command when finished with UNDELETE.

See the DOS help file for more information on using UNDELETE. If you don't have the DOS help file installed, then copy the following files from the Other\Oldmsdos directory on the Win9x CD-ROM into the Windows\Command directory: help.com, help.hlp, qbasic.exe, qbasic.hlp. Then, you should be able to access it by entering "help" at the DOS prompt. And if your Win9x CD-ROM doesn't have undelete.exe (my Win95 disc does, but my Win95B disc doesn't), then you can probably find it at Microsoft's website.

By the way, do not try to use UNDELETE on a disk formatted with FAT32 (Zip and Jaz disks are formatted with FAT16 unless you've taken special steps to change that).


I'm having problems when changing disks

Try assigning a unique label to each disk. You can view/edit the label under the Properties for the drive in My Computer. Also, check your drive's configuration in the appropriate section(s) elsewhere on this site.


How do I get rid of the delete confirmation window?

This feature was added to the IomegaWare to warn people that files deleted from a removable disk are not sent to the Recycle Bin. When using Explorer, there should be no functional change in operation (the window just looks different). However, with 3rd-party file managers, when deleting many files at once, you may be asked for confirmation on each and every file instead of just once for the whole lot. You may be able to prevent that by holding down the Shift key when deleting the files. Or you could close Imgicon via Ctrl-Alt-Del before deleting. If you leave Imgicon disabled, then don't forget to eject your Zip disk before powering down the drive as it will no longer happen automatically when shutting down Windows.


Can I use compression on Zip or Jaz disks?

You can use disk compression utilities like DriveSpace, but it probably isn't a good idea. Although I've never used DriveSpace myself, I think I have a basic understanding of what it does, and I don't like the idea (some call it evil). I believe it will limit the portability of your disks to other systems, and I think it may also limit the removability of your disks on your own system. A better way to compress your data would be to use a utility like WinZip to compress data at the file level rather than at the disk level.


How do I boot from a Zip or Jaz disk?

If you have a USB drive, you can't boot from it.

If you have a parallel-port Zip drive (or a SCSI drive using the Jaz Traveller), then you won't be able to boot from it unless you buy special hardware or software which is designed for this purpose. Look here if you're interested in that.

If you have an IDE/ATAPI Zip drive, then you'll need to have a motherboard with a BIOS which supports booting from Zip drives. If yours does, then its CMOS setup utility should give you the option to include the Zip drive in the boot sequence. Once you have that option selected, you'll still need to create a bootable Zip disk. To do that, use the Iomega software to short format a Zip disk while selecting the option to Make disk bootable.

If you have a SCSI Zip or Jaz drive, then you'll need a SCSI controller with its own BIOS which can support removable disks as fixed disks, and it will need to be able to boot from a SCSI ID which your drive can use. Additionally, if you have any IDE hard disks installed, you'll need to have the option in your motherboard BIOS to boot from SCSI instead of IDE (if you don't have that option, then you'll need to disable any IDE hard disks in order to boot from a SCSI disk). If you have what you need to boot from a SCSI Zip or Jaz drive, then you can create a bootable disk by using the Iomega software to short format it while selecting the option to Make disk bootable.


How compatible are 250/100 Zip drives or 2GB/1GB Jaz drives?

For the purposes of this discussion, we'll call the 100MB Zip and the 1GB Jaz "old", and we'll call the 250MB Zip and the 2GB Jaz "new". The compatibility issues are the same for the Zip and the Jaz drives.

The new disks won't work in the old drives at all. Don't even try it.

The old disks can be used in the new drives. When reading from an old disk in a new drive, performance should be about the same as reading the old disk in an old drive (which is not quite as fast as reading a new disk in a new drive). However, when writing to an old disk in a new drive, performance will suffer greatly. The read/write heads on a new drive are much smaller than they are on an old drive, so the new drive has to make several passes (about 4, I think) to fill out the wider tracks on the old disks. I suspect this could negatively impact the drive's ability to detect bad sectors, and that may be why the new drives are unable to long format the old disks. For this reason, I would not recommend a new drive to anyone who plans to use it to write to old disks on a regular basis.


I'm having trouble with the Findit utility

Apparently, Findit doesn't work with IomegaWare 2.x. Also, it doesn't seem to work properly on systems with Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.x installed. So if you want to use Findit, you'll have to use IomegaWare v1.13 (or an older version of Tools95), and you can't have MSIE 5.x on the system (I don't think there's any practical way to get rid of that with Win98SE).

A shareware alternative to Findit can be found here.


My Jaz drive refuses to accept disks

If the Jaz drive pushes disks back out as soon as you stop pushing them in (i.e. it does not grab the disk and attempt to spin it up first), then try the following:

First, turn the drive off. Then, insert a disk, and while holding the disk fully in the drive, turn the drive on. If the drive grabs the disk and starts to spin it up (it may not), wait for it to finish, then turn the drive off. You can let go of the disk at this point. Now, when you turn the drive back on, it may operate normally again.

Of course, if the drive is an internal drive, turning if off and on will entail turning the computer off and on. The external drives have their own power switch on the back of the drive which would be easier to work with.



Back to main menu