Legacy ZIP 250 Forcing itself as drive D:

June 24, 2010 at 08:48:01
Specs: DOS
Hey all. Great forum!

For reasons I won't go into here, I'm forced to install MS-DOS on a very basic computer and use an Iomega ZIP 250.

This all works great except that, for some reason, the ZIP drive -- as slave on the 2nd IDE BUS, asserts itself as drive D:.

It appears that either all ZIP drives or some of them are made to sort of 'emulate' a hard disk and so it appears to the BIOS as a primary partition on the second disk.

Unfortunately, I can't turn-off IDE auto detection in this BIOS.

Anyone have any other information, or any tips about this?

I want to use the old DOS guest.exe program to assign the drive letter to the ZIP disk.

Here's my configuration:

1 HDD on IDE 0 -- partitioned with a primary partition (C:), and an extended partition with a logical drive (D:).

1 CD-ROM on IDE 1 as MASTER. I use MSCDEX in autoexec.bat to set it up.

1 ZIP 250 on IDE 1 as SLAVE. The BIOS detects it and treats it as 2nd physical hard disk with a primary partition. Bahh!


640K is plenty.

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June 24, 2010 at 13:36:58
I don't know about ide zips but the old parallel ones needed some config.sys statements. I think there you could force a drive letter.

Might be able to use subst or assign commands.

I support the 'Everybody Draw Mohammed Day'. A religion doesn't deny my freedom.

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June 24, 2010 at 15:13:26
I agree with Jefro's suggestion about the last drive letter. go into the config.sys file and put in the following line


or you can use any drive letter you want. this should set it at that letter.

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June 25, 2010 at 18:00:40
Hmm, that's not the problem.. I can assign it drive letters all day.

The problem is this, and I have finally resolved it:

Modern motherboard BIOS programs can recognize a ZIP drive on the IDE bus and it will treat the drive as a HARD DISK primary partition.

Recalling your drive letter assignment rules, you'll remember that the primary partition on DISK 1 (master on IDE 0) gets C:.

Then the primary partition on DISK 2 (slave on IDE0, or elsewhere) gets D:.

Then the logical partition back on DISK 1 gets E:, and so on.

Then after all the physical disks are assigned their letters, drive letters are assigned via OS boot time with some drivers. DOS used autoexec.bat for that to give a letter to the CDROM, etc.

After that, network shares get their letters, and so on.

Well, the problem was, my BIOS was treating the ZIP like a disk drive with a primary partition, and assigning it D:, which wouldn't work with that ancient DOS program I have to run for some legacy work. :(

One might suggest to turn-off IDE auto-detection for that device, and one would be correct. Trouble was, my particular BIOS didn't have the ability to actually turn-off auto-detection.

So I ran into a situation where the ZIP drive was assigned D:, and also assigned G: via the driver in autoexec.bat. That sucked.

So I tossed the motherboard and replaced it with a used, working one I had on hand -- one that did, in fact, let me turn-off IDE device auto-detection.

Shame on MSI's crappy stripped-down Award BIOS. :)

Thanks for the comments!

640K is plenty.

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