A Hard-Drive to the Scrap Heap

As some of you will know my dear Hard-Drive left this world recently. It was taken to a Computer Repair Hospital and was diligently shot. It had one sole purpose in life and that was to remember. It would sit, nestled under my keyboard at the heart of my laptop, and just remember stuff. Like a monk, quietly concentrating on every word I wrote, remembering in detail every picture taken and video captured, it was a feat of great retention. And do you know what? It had never even occurred to me to ask how my old pal was doing. If he needed a break, or a sandwich, no, I ignored it and assumed it was an easy job for a part designed specifically to do just that.

And then, one day, while I toiled my way through the bland sense orgy that is common working life – the insipid drudge that keeps us from our passions – that trusty Hard-Drive of mine had a senior moment and, for reasons still unclear, forgot everything. It just forgot. It happens to the best of us.

Which is why it was sadly put to rest. I’m not sure how Hard-Drive’s are killed, I suspect they are just flung on one of the many piles of electronics crap that littered the Computer Hospital. But, before it was killed, the Computer Doctor – A man named Dave with no real doctorates as far as I’m aware – plugged it in to a machine and ran a retrieval program. There was no guarantee it would find anything.

It ran for 48 hours.

I was in Tesco browsing through the microwave meals when my phone rang a few days later. I answered it.


“Is that Andy?”


“The bloke with the pitiful hard drive?” (note that he says hard drive with no hyphen or capital letters, this man knows his stuff).

“Ah, yes, that’s me. It’s not good then?”

“Can I recommend that next time you buy a hard drive you avoid Western Global* parts? They are notoriously bad. Where did you get this one?”

“It was inside my laptop.”

“Well, I’ve got some good news and I’ve got some bad news.”

I put down my shopping basket and braced myself. “Let’s start with the worse?”

“It’s fucked.”

“Not a good start.”


“And the good news?”

“I have managed to recover all of your files.”

I was so relieved I nearly dropped a microwave lasagne.

In the end it cost me £100 for the 48 hour retrieval and another £40 for a new hard drive, which they installed for free. So all in all not such a bad deal. It’s damn cheaper than buying a new laptop. And, most importantly, all my writing was saved!

*I didn’t actually catch the make he was trying to warn me off (I was momentarily distracted by an upturned microwavable cauliflower cheese that required righting) so this is by no means consumer advice. In fact, I’ve just Googled it and it turns out Western Global is actually an airline.**

** If, by chance, you do find a Western Global Airline inside you laptop please report it to the authorities and then admit yourself into a hospital. Your computer is probably fine, but you are almost certainly having a meltdown.

To read the first part of this post click here – The Solemn Death of a Beloved Hard-drive

The Solemn Death of a Beloved Hard-drive

RIP old friend. You were working, and then you were not. The reason for your demise is a mystery. Is it wrong to speak ill of the dead? Because, dear Hard-drive, although I’m sad you’re gone, you could have given me some notice. A sign maybe? I mean, when you were fine and well you would tell me about all kinds of problems that you knew very well I had no chance of comprehending. Like, “ERROR 501: Header values specify a configuration that is not implemented.” Great! Thanks for letting me know, I’m not sure what to do about it, but thanks for keeping me in the loop. So why not, for once, couldn’t you have said, “Hey, buddy, I think I’m really ill. You better back up all your shit.” That is all I ask. But you’re dead now, so what can you do?

I’ll tell you, Hard-drive, what I did. I ripped you out of the machine that is your life-support, took you to a local computer hospital and asked the scruffy bloke behind the counter if he can restore you. You see, I’m nice like that. He un-did some screws. Removed your housing, and plugged you into a machine. Your vitals came up on a screen and the friendly computer-minded bum gave me the bad news.

“If you look here it says we are still able to run a restore program, but if you look in this box it says there is no information stored on the drive. We can go ahead with treatment but I can’t promise it will find anything.”

I thought about it. I did back up my writing about three weeks ago so I haven’t lost everything. But if I can’t get the information back off your comatose hard-drive I will have lost half of a kids book, a chapter from a thriller, and a folder of photos from my phone.

“How much will it cost?” I said.

“A hundred pounds. It will take forty eight hours and at the end of it I can’t guarantee I will find anything.” He must have seen the look of downtrodden despair on my face because then he said, “I’ll tell you what, if it doesn’t work you don’t have to pay.”

“Thank you, you’re a legend. Do what you can.”

He took my number and wrote my name on your underside. Look at that, Hard-drive, you and me, we’re like Andy and Woody from Toy Story.

If the process works I’m afraid you will not survive the procedure. All the information, all your memories, will be extracted from you and loaded onto a brand new hard-drive and installed into the old life-support that used to be your home and is my laptop. So, whichever way this goes, farewell, you temperamental fucking machine, you have succumbed to your final glitch.

In twenty four hours I will know if the procedure has worked. If I wasn’t superstitious about superstitions I would cross my fingers.