Castlewood ORB

The ORB is both inexpensive and contains a good amount of data (2.2GB per disk, which can compress up to 6GB).
  • Manufacturer: Castlewood Systems Inc.

  • E-mail:

  • URL:

  • Price: $199 US for drive $29.95 US per disk

  • Reviewer: Patrick Lambert

In the past few years, I have bought a lot of hard drives for various reasons. From testing to storing Internet downloads and archiving, I always needed more disk space. When I began looking at the available removable media devices, I wasn't impressed. Most contained only a few hundred megabytes and were very expensive. Then I came across the ORB. The ORB is both inexpensive and contains a good amount of data (2.2GB per disk, which can compress up to 6GB). A month later, I was buying a parallel port ORB device and two disks.

Device Information

The Castlewood ORB is a device capable of supporting removable disks containing 2.2GB of data. The ORB comes in several versions:

  • Internal IDE

  • Internal SCSI

  • External SCSI

  • External Parallel

The ORB is advertised as a good way to store important data, have portable information, store digital images and other media, back up a hard disk and store Internet downloads. The manual specifies that a Pentium 100 or better system is required.


I bought the ORB from one of the on-line resellers and received it in less than a week. The ORB box is quite large and contains the ORB drive, a disk full of utilities, an interface cable, a power supply, a user manual and an installation floppy. The drive is nice and looks modern on a desk. It is black with a small door for the disk on the front. The ORB power supply is like any other power supply, appearing very common. The interface cable is very short (about two feet), and you cannot use a normal printer cable to link the drive to the PC. The drive has an output port to connect a printer. The manual recommends that no other parallel device be used with the ORB and the printer.

One thing I found out is that even if they include a removable disk in the package, you actually need to buy another one since the included disk has 1.6GB of tools on it.

Included Software

The installation floppy contains drivers for various systems, including Windows 98, Windows 3.x and DOS. The included media has the following Windows tools:

  • ORB Tools: a set of tools and utilities used to manage the drive, eject a disk, scan the drive and other similar functions.

  • 1-Click Backup: a full system backup can be done with this utility by right clicking on the ORB's drive letter.

  • Advanced Backup: this full suite of backup tools is for professional users.

  • Duplicator: this tool allows you to duplicate multiple ORB disks.

  • tracker: tracks your files on all your disks.

  • Rescue: this small utility lets you restore your boot drive in emergency situations.

The disks come formatted in FAT16, which is readable and writable by Linux, DOS and Windows. They can be partitioned and re-formatted like normal hard disks.

Windows Installation

The installation in Windows was very easy. When inserting the driver's floppy, you can install the drive in less than 30 seconds. The ORB device will then appear as a drive letter, seen from Windows as a removable hard disk. Installing the tools provides all kinds of interesting functions, including backups and a software-based eject button.

One thing I noticed is that when the RealPlayer is running and I insert a disk in the drive, then try to access it from Windows Explorer, it hangs the system. This may be a bug in the ORB driver, the RealPlayer or both.

The Good
  • Inexpensive

  • Easy to use

  • Large storage size

  • Lots of software

  • Works with Linux, OS/2, DOS and Windows

The Bad
  • Unreponsive when writing large files

  • Much slower than an IDE drive



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Download Orb tools and drivers/ here is what you seek

Anonymous's picture

"Is there somewhere I could find a driver for the 2.2gb Orb please."

Right here my friend.

I just got my orb drive and love it. Can't imagine how awesome this thing would have been in '99. I'm running Linux mint 64-bit and it seems to be operating just fine. I didn't even download the drivers or software and I haven't got around to really experimenting with this thing or not. So I don't know If I can compress it or reformat it or not.

Really all this thing seems to be is a standard hard drive encased in a removable disk so I don't see why i wouldn't be compatible with any and all computers and os's made in the past decade or into the future.

If I encounter any issues with mine I'll be sure to report them here, but as I said I'm using Linux and it seems to be just plug and play.


franciswiech's picture

I have an old ORB external disk driver Model ORB2PE00 and the floppy disk with the driver on it has become corrupted and I need to download a new one. Is there somewhere I could find a driver for the 2.2gb Orb please.


BILL LARSEN's picture


external 2.2b orb drivers

RRich's picture

Where can I down load the drivers for the orb 2.2 gb ext hard drive?

Where can I find an adaptor

Steve  McKoy's picture

Where can I find an adaptor for the castlewood zip drive. It's 5VDC, 1.5 A. Thanks! Steve

Re: Product Review: Castlewood ORB

Anonymous's picture


I was wondering if you have tried to restore from the ORB diskettes the information. I purchased and been using a USB ORB 2.2GB castlewood drive and for the fist time I had the need to restore my data from the backups I have done on the ORB diskettes. I had made backups for my wife's computer and for my own computer as well on the ORB's diskettes. All three, I have problems recovering data from, While restoring with MS backup utility, the utility tells me that the files are corrupted. Also some other files that I had copied to the ORB disk I cannot access at all. I have tried to copy the files out, or open them with the application (such as MS WORD or quicken) and the files are corrumpte. I run a disk scan and it found all sort of problems such us file sizes in directory do not match actual file size, files overlapping on same cluster. I also read a comment from another client having the same sort of problems with the product.

atte. Alejandro Sosa

Re: Product Review: Castlewood ORB

Anonymous's picture


I noticed the same thing when doing a backup using full compatibility mode - ie: backup device = ORB Drive.... I then checked with Seagate software (they supply Microsoft with the backup software for Win..98) they told me to use file compatibility mode - ie: backup device = path to the ORB disk. Using this method I got excellent drive response and the backups where good - all restores where perfect. Apparently this is due to the software treats the ORB like a ZIP disk however the disk access and encoding is not the same - therefore when full compatibility mode is used the data gets scrambled on the ORB, when you use file compatiblity it treats the disk like any hard drive and this works fine.