Getting Data off old SCSI Jaz and Zip Drives?

Hi everyone.

Does anyone have any thoughts on getting data off of old Jaz and Zip drives without spending a fortune?

Was going to use the topic, “Have I waited too long?” … The answer seems to be a resounding “Yes”!

Came across a box of Jaz disks recently and I’d like to get the data off of them and abandon that as an archive method! – I’d forgotten about them.

Found my old Jaz drive(!); but it is (of course) SCSI. I found two old Zip drives (one SCSI and perhaps broken and one with a parallel interface).

I used to have an old homebrew computer that had a SCSI card on the motherboard (and, as a tower, it had a parallel port as well). It’s long dead.

There are a few listings for SCSI to USB adapters but they are really expensive for what should be a two-day data transfer project ($269 - $449!)!!

Thoughts and help appreciated!



i had a client with the same problem a while ago.

we bought an old g4 with scsi and zip included .

i think it was around a 100$


I would do a cost/benefit analysis here. What value can you expect to derive from 20 (?) year old files that you have lived happily without until now?

Unless you know exactly what gems you have on there, of course…


Look around at old local copy shops like to see if any still have those peripherals connected to old hardware just for tardy folks like you. (Every Kinkos in America used to have that hardware.)

Data recovery companies will probably charge around $10-$20/disk to pull data off for you.

As you noted, peripherals like Adaptec’s USBXchange SCSI-to-USB cable go for around $200+ on ebay…

1 Like

Laughing out loud about that part!

It’s funny, I stopped by an Experimac franchise yesterday and the owner pulled out a massive bin of old cords (several Zip Drive cables), but had not considered copy shops! Thank you!!

You can get a USB Zip drive on eBay? Would that work with a Mac?

1 Like

That might; I may give it a try!

Thank you!


I had a client with this exact same problem. Luckily, we had access to a Zip drive with USB. It worked fine connected to my MacBook Pro running High Sierra, and I was able to pull the data off all the Zip disks in an afternoon.

So, I second the suggestion of @DocD: look for a USB Zip drive on eBay or a local Mac user group. Schools may have old tech like this, if you’ve got access to that (colleges, especially). Another source might be a print shop — Zip was popular because print files are large.

Jaz drives are going to be harder to find because they weren’t as popular.

1 Like

Thank you! … I’m headed to a mixer Friday at a television production shop (Many Macs). I wonder if clients delivered logos/small video files to them w/ Zip and Jaz (esp. Jaz) drives.

I went to a local Mac repair shop and no one, not even the owner had heard of the drives.

These showed up in an old moving box I had not opened in years; so it was one of those surprises where I thought, “Oh! Wow! How cool, how nostalgic!” … Then, “Uh. Oh. … All the computers w/ a SCSI interface died years ago!”

Stages of emotion:


UM, I asked hubby (hardware guy) and we may actually have both old Zip drives, old Jaz drives and an old running computer with a SCSI interface. I can do some more poking at the hardware archives if it’s critical. And FWIW I think we also have functioning old bernoulli drives and some old optical drives as well.

I do know we did finally destroy my old washing machine size Data General hard drive platter system, I never owned the drive for it (it really was th size of a washing machine) but kept one of the disks for nostalgic reasons. If I recall it was a whopping 5MB in size! I also know we got rid of the 8 inch, 5.25 inch and 3.5 inch floppy drives because the rotating servos wore out.

Yes we could probably start a rather extensive computer museum. :wink:

1 Like

Thank you! … It’s not critical data. Found an old box, opened it and it’s full of disks I can’t access.

First words out of my mouth were not forum-safe! :wink:

I do hope there are some old writing samples/speeches I wrote on there. Lost a bunch of those files before back-ups were “in the cloud” (home break-in years ago :frowning: ).

I have yet to follow some of the advice I received here (asking old photocopy/service shops if they still have some on hand).

I have gone to one mac-repair place and they had an impressive bin full of adapters and cables (none that I needed).

Visited friends who run a TV/Video production studio and they got rid of theirs some time ago.

I have a Jaz and at least one Zip drive.

Will visit a few copy shops (branded/chains and stand-alone) to see what luck I have.

Visited a local Microcenter yesterday and can prob. get to a solution if I ever replace/rebuild my old (non-working) tower. I still have cables, just not a modern SCSI card… Well, that one’s a “maybe” … I think I have one, will need to dig around.

Thanks for looking!!