A Zip drive is a small, portable disk drive used primarily for backing up and archiving personal computer files. The trademarked Zip drive was developed and is sold by Iomega Corporation. Zip drives and disks come in two sizes. The 100 megabyte size actually holds 100,431,872 bytes of data or the equivalent of 70 floppy diskettes. There is also a 250 megabyte drive and disk. The Iomega Zip drive comes with a software utility that lets you copy the entire contents of your hard drive to one or more Zip disks.
In addition to data backup, Iomega suggests these additional uses:
- Archiving old e-mail or other files you don't use any more but may want to access someday
- Storing unusually large files, such as graphic images that you need infrequently
- Exchanging large files with someone
- Putting your system on another computer, perhaps a portable computer
- Keeping certain files separate from files on your hard disk (for example, personal finance files)
The Zip drive can be purchased in either a parallel or a Small Computer System Interface (SCSI) version. In the parallel version, a printer can be chained off the Zip drive so that both can be plugged into your computer's parallel port.