Low End Mac's Online Tech Journal

Best Uses for Zip Disks

(or whatever else you may have
of similar or greater capacity)

Clean, bootable System Disk

Do a fresh install to the disk of whatever version of the Mac OS you prefer. Optionally add the few extensions and control panels you can't live without. Mark the disk clearly and set it aside for the next time your System, Finder, or some other crucial file gets damaged. Not only can you boot from this disk, but you can replace the damaged file with a good one from the Zip. (I used to do this on a 44MB SyQuest. Zip is much more convenient. Besides, I doubt you could run Mac OS 8.0 or later on a 44MB cartridge.)

Emergency Disk

Copy the System Folder from the above disk. Install Norton, TechTool, Virex, Hard Disk Toolkit, and whatever else might be helpful in troubleshooting. Keep this in a safe place next to the above disk. This is the disk you boot from to reinstall drivers, check for damaged files, and optimize your hard drive. Note that it could become damaged or infected; that's why you keep a separate bootable system disk.

Backup, backup, backup

Unless you have more than 2GB of data, Zip makes a reasonable (albeit not inexpensive) backup medium. Buy a copy of Retrospect Express, which will compress files by about 30% on average. Install Express on your Emergency Disk. Then install it on your hard drive. Then do backup. Then copy the backup catalog to your Emergency Disk.

Sure, CD-R, CD-RW, Jaz, SyJet, and others don't require as much disk shuffling, but Zip isn't too tedious. And if you already have the drive, a dozen disks won't break the bank.

Backup religiously. Daily is best, weekly is minimum, monthly is criminal.

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