FreeBSD and Iomega ZIP Drives

Iomega ZIP drives and disks are dead technology, but I have an old box from 1999 that has a fully functioning 100MB ZIP drive. Out of the box, FreeBSD supports these devices through the SCSI subsystem. During the boot process, FreeBSD recognizes the drive as /dev/da0.

da0 at ata0 bus 0 scbus0 target 1 lun 0
da0: <IOMEGA ZIP 100 12.A> Removable Direct Access SCSI device
da0: 11.100MB/s transfers (PIO3, ATAPI 12bytes, PIO 65534bytes)
da0: Attempt to query device size failed: NOT READY, Medium not present

The last line is not a critical failure, it just means that there is no ZIP disk inserted in the drive. Rebooting the machine with a ZIP disk inserted results in the following output:

da0 at ata0 bus 0 scbus0 target 1 lun 0
da0: <IOMEGA ZIP 100 12.A> Removable Direct Access SCSI device
da0: 11.100MB/s transfers (PIO3, ATAPI 12bytes, PIO 65534bytes)
da0: 96MB (196608 512 byte sectors: 255H 255S/T 3C)

The last line shows that the ZIP disk media was recognized, and the number of 512-byte blocks is listed. A disk can be inserted at any time, and interestingly enough, when a disk is inserted into the driver, there are no messages in /var/log/messages indicating which partition the media is listed as. Running a listing on the devices in /dev can reveal some hints though.

root@bsdbox:/media # ls /dev
acpi consolectl kbd0 pci ttyv4
….
… da0 …
… da0s4 …

The drive represents the ZIP media on /dev/da0s4. According to older documentation from FreeBSD 6, slice 4 is where the device driver places the media partition.  To access the ZIP disk, first create a mount point on the filesystem, such as /media/zipdisk, and then mount the device using the mount(8). The zip disks I have are FAT formatted, so I need to use the “-t msdosfs” option.

root@bsdbox:/meda # mkdir /media/zipdisk
root@bsdbox:/meda # mount -t msdosfs /dev/da0s4 /media/zipdisk

This disk is now available on /media/zipdisk for reading and writing.  When finished with the disk, before physically ejecting it, be sure to unmount the filesystem first.

root@bsdbox:/meda # umount /media/zipdisk

Now it is safe to press the disk eject button on the drive. Of course for frequent use of a ZIP drive, entries should be added to /etc/fstab to make things easier. For infrequent use, however, the above methodology should work just fine!

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