Some technologies, such as the floppy drive, seem to find a niche and last well beyond the point where superior technologies surpass it. The Iomega Zip drive is one of those technologies.

In response to my article “When good Zip drives seem bad,” some questioned why I write about outdated technologies. But buried in the more than 100 responses to that article is the simple fact that a lot of people still use Zip drives.

One of those people, member Tom Bamford, has a problem with his Zip drive that stumped even Iomega and Hewlett-Packard, the maker of the computer he’s using with a Zip drive. He hopes that one of his IT peers can help him solve this perplexing problem.

Large file transfer causes problem
Bamford is running Windows 98 on a Hewlett-Packard Pavilion 8370 and has had few problems since the machine was new in September 1998.

In November 2001, he added a USB Zip 250 drive to his system, and it was working fine—until mid-January when it choked on a 26-MB file he was copying from Windows Explorer.

“The computer locked up tighter than Cheyenne Mountain,” Bamford said. “The only way to reboot at this point was to literally pull the plug.”

During the reboot, ScanDisk activated and reported the bad shut down, but as the system continued to boot up after ScanDisk, it reported a Fatal OE Error at 015F: BFF8AB6E. The only way to get past the error was to soft reboot, which threw the system into Safe Mode.

“Since then, this same fatal message error has dogged me repeatedly, yet sporadically, when starting up the system,” Bamford said. He has searched MS Knowledge Base, TechNet, and the HP Web site for a solution, but he hasn’t found one.

Before hitting the Iomega site, he tried the typical, software-troubleshooting process of removing the Iomega hardware and software from the system and then reinstalling, but the same error reappears.

He did find the problem described on the Iomega site, but the recommended solution was to remove the hardware and reinstall the software, which he’d already tried.

Bamford called Iomega support and spent almost two hours with them on the phone. They sent him a reconditioned drive and recommended that he try the newest software version, 3.1, instead of the version 2.8 that came with his drive.

This seemed to work a few times, but after a few boots of the system, the error returned in a slightly different form. Now it reads: Fatal 0E at 015F: BFF86EAD.

Your challenge, if you accept it
Most recently, Bamford again uninstalled and reinstalled the version 3.1 software and encountered the same results. Also, when he reverted back to the original version of the software, 2.8, the original error message returned.

He has now removed all vestiges of the Iomega product that he can find on his computer—including a manual purge of the registry—and the boot problem persists.

If you can explain what these errors mean or if you have a solution to correct Bamford’s problem, share it with your fellow IT professionals in the discussion below. The member who submits the best solution will receive a TechRepublic coffee mug.