Large files travel EZFlyer in comfort
- By William M. Frazier
- Jan 13, 1997
For graphics and desktop publishing professionals, removable hard drives can be a
necessity these days. And plenty of other government users value removables for their
If you want only to add more storage to your system, it's hard to justify a removable.
Standard hard drives can do the job for less.
But if you often transport very large files, if your office computers are
non-networked, or if you need to lock up work at the end of the day, SyQuest's EZFlyer 230
could be ideal for you.
I tested the parallel port version of the EZFlyer 230, which had a 230M removable
cartridge and claimed a 13.5-millisecond seek time. It also came in a SCSI version.
Everything needed for installation, including the parallel port cable, was right in the
The EZFlyer 230 weighed in at just under 24 ounces. It wasn't much larger than a
paperback book and could easily go around in a briefcase or notebook bag. A Data Safe door
sealed both drive and cartridge, protecting the mechanism from dust and smoke except
during cartridge insertion or ejection.
The installation guide was clear and concise about basic hardware and software
installation on MS-DOS, OS/2 and Microsoft Windows 3.x, Windows 95 and Windows NT systems.
Unfortunately, the guide stumbled a bit in its troubleshooting hints, passing the buck to
on-line documentation on the installation diskette.
I installed EZFlyer on two systems, the first a 33-MHz 486DX and the second a 100-MHz
The Pentium installation was as trouble-free as the 486 installation was difficult,
although both were under Windows 95.
To install the EZFlyer, I plugged it into the PC's parallel port and attached the
external power supply. Driver installation initially seemed to be successful. I then
rebooted the system but couldn't find a trace of EZFlyer in either the My Computer area or
in Win95 Explorer.
I opened the Control Panel and clicked on the System icon. The Device Manager tab
informed me that a SyQuest parallel port device was installed but not working properly.
I found out the reason a couple of hours later in the online manual, which was on Disk
1 of the driver software. All I had to do was set a switch on the settings line of the
Driver Properties tab to resolve an interrupt conflict between the driver software and my
This hint would have been lots easier to find if it had been printed in the
I rebooted again but still couldn't see a trace of the EZFlyer. What I did notice was a
new hard-drive partition that hadn't been on my system before.
This time I found the answer by running DriveSpace. I had two compressed partitions on
my hard drive. To reduce clutter, I had selected the option of hiding the host drives of
the compressed partitions.
When the system detected the EZFlyer, it assigned to it the drive letter of one of the
existing DriveSpace host partitions. Consequently, the host partition showed up as a new
hard-drive partition, and the EZFlyer became invisible.
To make things even more frustrating, the check box to make the drive visible was
ghosted, so I couldn't even turn the "feature" off. The solution this time was
turning the EZFlyer off, rebooting, making the partition visible, turning the EZFlyer on
and rebooting again.
After about four hours, I finally got the EZFlyer running on the 486.
Installation on the Pentium system was totally different, with only the added step of
plugging my printer into the pass-through plug on the EZFlyer. The software driver
installed, the system rebooted and the drive appeared on the first try.
Once installed, the EZFlyer with its 230M formatted capacity made a great place for
secondary storage and easy transfer of files from one computer to another. It also
supplied me with quick backups.
Average access time for the cartridge is supposed to be 13.5 milliseconds, sustained
data transfer rates can be up to 1M per second and burst rates 4M/sec with the parallel
I performed two rough tests of real-world transfer rates. The first test wrote a single
50M file to the EZFlyer. The second wrote 156 separate files totaling 17.2M. The source of
files in both tests was the local computer's primary hard drive.
The 486DX transferred the 50M file in 8 minutes, 5 seconds, at a disk write rate of
105.6 kilobytes/sec. It transferred the 156 grouped files in 4 minutes, 11 seconds, at
The 100-MHz Pentium was much faster. The 50M file transferred in 2 minutes, 3 seconds,
at 416.3 kilobytes/sec, and the grouped files in 36 seconds, at 489.3 kilobytes/sec.
William M. Frazier, a PC hobbyist, is the postmaster of Ocean Shores, Wash.