Zip/Jazz Drive Utilities

By Tom Shield, orginally written by Alan Hewat and Kent Landfield and modfied for SGI's by Dave Olson

Note that the Jazz drive works with the software below identically to the Zip drive.

For additional info see the FAQ.

Here is a Comment on mounting a non-floppy FAT (DOS) filesystem under 6.3

These utilities allow users to mount, unmount and format Zip disks on an SGI workstation. Usually these operations can only be done by the system adminstrator, but since the media is removable, these utilities are provided for users to perform these tasks. Each program is described separately below. The source code, installation notes and SGI (Irix 5.3) executables are also available as a tar file.

NOTE:These utilities as written only support the EFS (IRIX) filesystem. This filesystem is only readable by SGI's running IRIX. Irix 5.x will also mount Mac HFS formatted zip disks but these utilities as written do not support this (Mac HFS hints: Mount the volume device with the -hfs switch. mkfp will format a HFS zip disk.) Irix 5.x does not support the DOS (FAT) filesystem on zip disks.

Installation Notes


Note: Removing a Zip disk from the drive while it is mounted may corrupt the filesystem on the disk. Thus both format_zip and mount_zip default to locking the drive. This means that the eject button on the drive will not work. You must use umount_zip to eject the disk.


Insert a Zip disk in the drive before running this command!

This command destroys all data on the disk. It should only be run once on each disk. After a disk has been formatted, use mount_zip to mount it the second time.

This command allows a user to format a zip disk. This includes the steps of labeling the disk, making a filesystem and adding a directory to the filesystem with the name of the user and making the user the owner of that directory. The Zip disk is left mounted and is ready for use after the format_zip command is done. Typically no command line options are needed for this command, however there are a few (use format_zip -h to get this list):

usage: format_zip [ -dhve ]
      -d   show the format commands without executing it
      -v   show the format commands and execute it
      -e   eject the media after formatting

The -d and -v options are for debugging purposes. The -e option is useful if many disks are to be formatted at once. This option unmounts the disk and ejects it from the drive after formatting. Remember that format_zip also makes a directory that the current user owns, thus you cannot run format_zip to make disks for another user to use.

Use umount_zip to unmount and eject the zip disk from the drive.

If you get a write protect failure on the disk and it is the disk that was included with the drive, see my note on Write protection of the disk included with the drive.


Insert a Zip disk in the drive before running this command!

This command allows a previously formatted Zip disks to be mounted on the system. Typically you need only enter mount_zip after a formatted disk has been inserted into the drive. The are some command line options for mount_zip:

usage: mount_zip [ -dhvrn ]
      -d   show the mount command without executing it
      -r   mount the media readonly (mount only)
      -v   show the mount command and execute it
      -n   do not eject the media after unmounting, (umount only)
      -u   unlock the drive (umount only)

The -d and -v options are for debugging purposes. If you want to mount the Zip disk read only use the -r option. The other options are for the umount_zip command.


This command allows the currently mounted Zip disk to be unmounted and ejected from the drive. This is only possible if the drive is not busy. Thus you must not have any shell or program pointing to any directory on the Zip disk when you try to unmount it. If you do you will get an error saying the device is busy. This applies to all users on the system.

The options for umount_zip are the same as for mount_zip above. The -n option is useful if you wish to immediately mount the disk again for some reason. The -u option is only for the case when something goes wrong. Do NOT unlock the drive and then eject the disk manually while it is mounted. This will corrupt the filesystem on the Zip disk. Note that the drive remembers eject button pushes, so if the button has been pressed, unlocking the drive will cause the disk to be ejected.