Setting up your vintage (classic) 68k Macintosh: using a 100MB SCSI Iomega Zip Drive

Iomega ZipDrive

Iomega Zip drive

I’ve recently been experimenting to see if I could somehow use of my old Iomega Zip drives (a 250MB USB version, and a 100MB SCSI) to move files between my Windows PC and my various 68k Macintosh Systems.   After a bit of experimentation I discovered how I could not only move files, but also create a disk image that would allow me to use my Windows PC to make fully bootable Zip disks for use with any of the SCSI capable 68k Macintosh systems.

So, similar to my entry on setting up using a floppy disk, I created boot images for System 6.0.8 and System 7.5.5.


  1. Your classic 68k Macintosh turns on, and is prompting you to insert a disk.  If your 68k Macintosh does not turn on, or does not show the insert disk icon, you may need to do some repair work before you proceed.
  2. Your classic 68k Macintosh supports and is connected to an external or an internal Iomega Zip drive.
  3. You have a working SCSI 100MB Iomega Zip drive attached to your 68k Macintosh System, set with a valid SCSI ID and with the terminator enabled if it is at the end of the chain.
  4. You have a working USB 100MB or 250MB Iomega Zip drive to connect to your Windows, OS X or Linux System.   If you are planning to use an IDE or SCSI Zip Drive with your modern Windows, OS X or Linux System, this method will not work.
  5. You have at least one, 100MB Zip disk that you plan to use

Step 1: Determine if you can use this method

This method will only work for 68k Macintosh computers that have an internal Iomega Zip drive, or have a SCSI or PCMCIA connector for an external Iomega Zip drive.  Otherwise, you will need to use one of the other setup methods I’ve previously identified

If you are planning to use an IDE or SCSI Zip Drive with your modern Windows, OS X or Linux System, this method will not work.  You should be able to mount these drives directly in Basilisk II and create bootable Zip Disks that way…. I’ve done this before with the SCSI zip drive, and if my PCI SCSI card still works I will document the process.

Step 2: Selecting your boot disk image

First determine which operating system you can, or want to run on your classic Macintosh.

I’ve made 2 main types of bootable images, both formatted using the Hierarchical File System (HFS):

  1. A 100MB OS 6.0.8 Bootable image (zipped, 5MB) for older 68k systems that may only have 1MB of memory installed.  The SE/30, Classic, Classic II, Portable, II, IIx, IIcx, IIci, IIsi, LC typically shipped with only 1 MB of memory.  I’ve managed to track down a scan of the Apple Memory Guide from November 2000 (pdf) that shows how to upgrade the memory for these and other 68k systems.
  2. A 100MB OS 7.5.5 Bootable image (zipped, 5MB) for the remaining 68k systems that have 2MB or more memory installed.

Each image contains:

  • The system folders for both System 6.0.8 and System 7.5.5, containing the “minimal” files to boot, with only one of them “blessed” to be the startup system
  • A single 100MB Partition.
  • The minimum boot files in the system folder to boot
  • A patched version of HD SC Setup 7.3.5 for formatting your SCSI HD or equivalent once you’ve booted your Macintosh (patched to support non-Apple SCSI Drives)
  • Disk Copy 4.2 by Steve Christensen (copyright Apple) for creating image files from floppy disks, or writing images back to floppy disks
  • StuffIt Expander 5.5 (freeware, installed and installer) by Aladdin Systems, for opening StuffIt and other archive files (.arc, .bzip, .bin, .cpt, .dd, .gz, .hqx, .lha, .img, .lhz, .pkg, .sea, .sit, .smi, .tar,  taz, .uu, .Z, .zip)
  • ShrinkWrap Version 2.1 (last release before becoming an Aladdin product) by Chad Magendanz, for creating files that you can mount that emulate a floppy disk or hard disk.  I use this program to create 32MB ProDos image files that I can use to transport and backup the contents of my ProDos partitions I use with my Apple IIe card, and to bypass the partition file limit.
  • DropDisk by Mike Wiese and Chris Cotton that allows you to quickly mount and use disk images created with Disk Copy or ShrinkWrap
  • System Picker by Kevin Aitken that allows you to select which System Folder is active (blessed) on restart.
  • You can add additional applications / files to these image files by mounting them as a volume under Basilisk II, although I suggest testing your Zip Drive and your 68k Macintosh with the basic images first.

Step 3: Creating your bootable HFS ZipDisk

I’ve created a separate blog entry for how I write the images back to physical drives and how to create your own images if you do not want to use one of mine.

Step 4: Booting your 68k Macintosh from your SCSI Zipdrive

Depending on your setup, your 68k Macintosh System may try to boot from a different drive than your Zipdrive.  On some Macintosh Systems, you can use the following keyboard combination to specify the boot drive:

Command-Option-Shift-Delete-# Boot from a specific SCSI ID, where # is 0
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4 thoughts on “Setting up your vintage (classic) 68k Macintosh: using a 100MB SCSI Iomega Zip Drive

  1. Hi guys,

    great site, very useful, complete approach and instructions are very clear – really nice.
    I am trying to install LC III via a SCSI-ZipDrive (250Mb) with a 100Mb-ZipDisk but only get “No disk” found.
    This “No Disk found” error was also blocking the installation of the Iomega Tools 4.2.2 – the installer does not even start for this reason.
    SCSI-Probe does list the drive correctly.
    Only having a FloppyDrive otherwise, I have not much possibilities to vary drivers and and systems.
    Do you have any idea why this happens? Is the drive broken?


    • Odd. I’m assuming you have a Hard Drive in your LC III? I found I didn’t need to have iomega tools installed, just the iomega extension, which I thought was on the disk image, if it isn’t I’ll added it and post here once I’ve updated the image.

  2. Hi,

    thanks for your answer. Where can I find this “extension”. Just to check whether this could help me out.

    Thanks in advance.

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