Student Life

The Pros and Cons of Losing Your Entire Hard Drive

By Danielle Ryan, Trinity College

Sunday morning. July 10. I decide hey, I know what I’ll do, I’ll write my first article for The New Student Union. So, I shower (the relevance of this will become clear), and brainstorm some ideas. I bring my laptop into the bathroom with me (I sometimes do that you see, despite being warned that the steam seeping into the speakers really does not bode well for laptop well-being and all that).

Everything was going as planned. Get out of the shower. Bring laptop back to bedroom. Sit laptop on desk. Proceed to dry hair. And then it happened. Click. Click. Click. What’s that strange noise, I wonder. Click. Click. Click. I can hear it over the sound of the hairdryer now. Click. Click. You get the idea. I pause.

Turn around. My beautiful shiny, white Sony VAIO seems to be on death’s door, these persistent clicks, its last message to me. “You idiot, why did you drop me last week and continue to let shower steam seep into me on a regular basis,” I imagine it would say, were the clicks to make any linguistic sense. And all the while, for some strange reason, I refuse to accept that dropping it probably had more to do with its sudden death than the shower steam ever did. I post a frantic Facebook status. Help me. I’m informed that my laptop has succumbed to the ‘click of death’. That does not sound good. At all.

Do you know what else doesn’t sound good? The postman, as he drops yet another bank statement on to the tiles in the front porch of my house, once again reminding me that I still in fact, have no money. I mean, why do they even send those? I know I have no money. You know I have no money. I don’t need a reminder. Not to mention the fact that they’re basically just wasting a ton of paper on my perpetual destitution. If they really need to remind me, they could just call me up and be like “Dude, you still have no money” and I’d be like “awesome, I know” and that would be it.

Anyway. I’m getting to the point. In the midst of my mourning, I decided to make a list. I call it “The pros and cons of losing your entire hard drive” list. Not many pros, you would imagine. You’d be correct. So in the interests of brevity, I’ll whittle it down to the worst con and the best pro, because I’m considerate like that:

On the con side, we have the fact that I have now lost access to my most recently edited resumé. Problem? I’m probably going to need that some day when I get a proper interview (most likely around the same time that laptops fall out of fashion) just to remind myself exactly what it was I said I can do. You know that feeling? You have applied for a job and you’re not quite fully confident that you can actually do what you said you can do in your glowing resumé. Yes, the resumé which you color-coded to match the company’s logo to gain that impressive “edge” over the other candidates. Yes, the resumé within which you have made your three month stint as a pub waitress sound akin to leading a large international team through a multitude of strategic crises. Yes, that resumé. Well, you can imagine it’s even worse when you don’t know what your resumé actually said.

On the pro side, we have the fact that I can’t really remember much of what I had saved on it. I have almost convinced myself that starting afresh, with a completely blank slate should be a positive thing – a cleansing of the mind, so to speak. Do you see how I’m really clinging to straws here? Seriously though, this could be a genuine pro.

Three days have passed. I’m still in mourning, but to ease the pain, I have resurrected the family Dell (circa 1998) and as I sit here tapping away on this prehistoric contraption, in a cold, dark kitchen (remember, there’s no wireless capability on 300 year old PCs), I conclude that the moral of this story must be: never bring your laptop into the bathroom. Let this be a warning to you all.

And in one last-ditch effort to console myself, I ask, who really wants 2.5 years worth of old documents with names like “cool quotes”, “stuff”, “random shit I found online” and “do not delete”. I mean, they can’t have been that important anyway, right?



The New Student Union is an online magazine run by and for college students covering the issues we care about. Self-starters with great communication skills and a passion for writing should email to get involved. Official site will launch in late 2011.


5 thoughts on “The Pros and Cons of Losing Your Entire Hard Drive

  1. Sorry to hear this! Yes, it’s a sad day when your hard drive dies. It’s gotten me so paranoid now that I back up to two external hard drives and “the cloud.” Almost all my word processing is in a blog post, Dropbox folder, or Google Doc now, just in case I start hearing the infamous clicking sound.

    Posted by A.Y. Siu | July 21, 2011, 11:07 am
  2. Losing your hard drive is an effective, if harsh, way to “spring clean” your computer.

    However, losing critical files really sucks. I’ve gone to using dropbox for my critical files (resumes, tax returns, etc…). They have a free account. I’m sure there are other similar services available — that’s just the one I use.

    Posted by elaine | July 21, 2011, 1:12 pm
  3. It was definitely harsh, but I’m trying to view it as a positive turning point! I’ve heard about Dropbox, but I think I’m going to have to check it out properly now. Thanks for your comment!

    Posted by daniellery | July 24, 2011, 10:25 am


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