Hard disk dissectionI got a call yesterday from my Best Beloved, who is enjoying a rare week off, to say that the standalone extension drive linked to my home PC was “clicking” — like a metronome. I suggested she used some “kinetic maintenance”; in other words, thumping it so see if the noise stopped.

She did. And she moved it, switched it off and on and several other things besides.

Nothing worked.

So I told her to switch it off and I would take a look later that evening when I got home. In my heart I hoped a chance to cool down, or at least a visit from the Hardware Fairy, would solve the problem for me, and all would be well when I got home.

It wasn’t.

When I started the drive up again, the clicking was still there, a worrying, annoying click, click, click, like some peripheral poltergeist nagging away.

So there was a simple choice, ignore it and hope it didn’t presage some impending meltdown, or try to replace it as soon as possible.

It’s only at crisis times like this you realise just how much of your life is now dependent on technology. Inside that box was a complete music library, several thousand treasured images including all the family photos I’d scanned in and digital images taken over the last six years, and all the websites I’ve ever built.

So there was no choice: I had to buy a new one and stat!

Thank heavens for late night shopping. Even if you do have to put up with sales assistants who really need an introduction to the joys of soap and deodorant.

Silence of the RAM

After fending off one guy who wanted to sell me the Bluetooth speaker for my phone that I DIDN’T want and trying to catch the eye of anyone to explain the choices available, I eventually walked out — £105 lighter — with a 3 TERRABYTE hard drive, with the nagging feeling that I was committing myself to placing even more of my life’s work in the hands of a production line worker somewhere in Thailand who had his mind on the ladyboy he met in the bar the previous night.

It’s taken almost 12 hours to coax the old drive to give up its booty and copy it to the new one. For large parts of that time it was completely silent, no ticking at all, which leads to the thought: “Did I really need to spend out that much money in the first place for  new one?”

Thankfully, just seconds before I switched it off — for perhaps the final time — the clicking started again, like some nanotech Captain Ahab pacing up and down the desktop in search of its doom.

There’s a copy of this blog sitting on the new drive as we speak. It will probably never be opened, as is the case with almost all the files that get stuffed on to extension drives.

The advent of even more storage capacity means that EVERYTHING gets saved these days, instead of the selective filtering that we all used to do.

I remember my first real PC had a 850Mb hard drive — and that was a biggie — and much time was spent in order to remove the “chaff” of everyday computing.

But at least it wasn’t clicking.