Catastrophic Hard Drive Failure

No, I’m talking about my computer. Really. My laptop hard drive is toast.

It all began last week when Microsoft Word wouldn’t save my document. Out of memory? What? I know I’m close to running out of memory, but how would the computer know that? (Har har.) I worked around the error, rebooted and all was well. Well, except for overall sluggishness, so I ran some PC Doctor utilities (I didn’t even know I had them until then) and defragmented the hard drive (took seven hours). And who would have thought—it seemed fixed!

Seemed. Until yesterday.

12:14 pm Kids eating lunch, I decide to check email. But, odd, what’s that strange clicking noise? A fan? Not the hard drive. Certainly NOT the hard drive.

Flashback to early spring: A refurbished HP desktop, a Christmas gift for my oldest child, and it started acting funny.

Hmmm, that’s a new error message. I’ll reboot and then I’ll get our files backed up just in case.

Since the computer held the only copies of ALL our digital pictures. Yes, I am THAT stupid.

The reboot ended in the Black Screen of Death.

I feel the panic rising as my laptop clicks and churns. I had frantically reinstalled the operating system and cried with joy when our files miraculously survived the crash. I burned backups of everything and a good thing too. The files did not survive the next crash two weeks later. But that was the desktop, the Family computer.

This is my laptop. I won’t let the children breathe on it, I won’t let them look at it or even think about it.

12:18 Kids OK, computer very much not. I abandon the reboot idea and whip out my handy portable CD-RW drive, run upstairs for an archive disk. The last backup was February. February! Don’t I learn? I AM AN IDIOT!!!!

12:25 Wipe up Fish, tell St. Nick to quit messing in the sink already. Drag and drop files to the RW drive. My novels, my essays, my homeschooling files.

12:32 "Nicholas, settle down! Leave your sister alone! Quit jumping on the couch!!!” 12:36 Phone call from husband, I say, “Funny noises, yes, the hard drive, I’m doing a backup of the data, bye.”

12:48 I glance up at a shriek from St. Nick. He’s a foot away, just coming off a flying leap onto the sofa. He lifts his head and blood gushes from his nose over the sofa and onto the floor.

Oh no! I grab towels and once he’s assured he’s not dying (and I am too), and the mess is managed, I hear yet more grinding from the laptop as one of my larger folders gets added to the RW disk.

1:12 It’s well past nap. I grab Fish from the closet (where he’s playing dress-up with the winter coats) and Mud Pie from under an end table. St. Nick remains on the sofa with a paper towel.

1:29 Flurry of diapers, attempt at nursing, babes to bed. I check the Nose Bonker and he’s fine, so back to the files. The Most Important file did not get copied! Oh no! I drag and drop it, then decide to email it to myself, just to be sure. The computer freezes.

1:43 I reboot. All is normal. I try to start Outlook. A blue screen appears and the message: Unknown Hard Disk Error.

I give up my chair to St. Nick, who says using the computer (the Family computer) will make his nose feel better. Sure enough, it does.

Addendum: I will reboot two more times and will retrieve most major files. On the third reboot I will see the Black Screen of Death: No Operating System Found.

Taps will play. I will mourn. It is finished.