Before recordable CDs became the common standard for removable storage of large files and programs, several other types of removable media were widely used in personal computers. These included several kinds of magnetic tape cartridges, and proprietary magnetic disk media such as the 100MB Zip disk shown in Figure 9.9.
Figure 9.9: Zip disks are smaller and more expensive than recordable CD-ROMs.
Today, these storage formats, and the drives that use them, are less common than they were in the 1990s, except for highly specialized archival storage applications. Zip drives and disks-which were promoted by Iomega, the company that produces them, as the replacement for floppy disks-have turned out to be far more expensive than recordable CDs. In addition, many users have reported drive failures that make the disks unreadable.
If you have some existing tapes or disks in one of these formats, you may need to find a drive to read them. Some are still in production, and others are available through surplus places and online auctions such as eBay.
Most of the drives that can read these old or uncommon types of storage media use either a SCSI interface or an IDE interface. If your drive has a SCSI interface but your computer does not, install an inexpensive SCSI controller card into one of the PCI expansion cards in the computer's motherboard.