Deadheading the Hard Drive


Tending to the digital garden here, replacing a small-oldish laptop hard drive (90 GB) for a larger one (320 GB). Going through this ritual made me think about what gets old and how things begin to fail, or need to be retired, or stored for the winter, or, like the roses in our backyard, deadheaded.. In this case, I’ll replace the old original drive for a bigger one, and then keep the old one for the day that may never come when the current drive fails and I need to get something back. That’s going a bit far, but I can’t help but think about things that are a confluence of multiple redundancies simply failing — like the world economy.

Doing the swap went easier than I thought it would, but required just a bit of focus rather than a situation where distraction might come and interrupt things. There are multiple tiny screws — some finishing some just meant to hold things inside to other things inside. The one annoyance was that the case does not completely close the way it originally did, but it’s easy to ignore unless you’re one of those weird particular people who insist on factory freshness and obsess over “unboxing” experiences.

(Those books were on the kitchen table nearby and were there to balance and hold open the various parts. Without the drive and other stuff, the laptop wants to topple over itself backwards.)



The machine got to the point where I was constantly removing files to make room for other things and that just seemed silly in the era of 500 GB laptop drives and so forth. Plus, drives eventually fail I believe, so starting from scratch feels like I have extended my mean time between severe annoyances.

The procedure requires only one or two tricky bits, like removing the Wifi card, but this was easy enough. You’ll void the warranty, of course. But, I dunno. If your close to out of warranty anyway, which you probably are if you’re pondering replacing a hard drive, the extra head room is worth the hassles.



So long as things are going okay with the scary procedure, it was interesting to see what’s going on inside, especially the traces of multiple participants in creating the device. There’s Foxconn, of course, which I’m convinced makes just about everything there’s is to make that gets plugged in and dubbed “high tech.” Boy, I’d love to be able to spend a week there, just to see how an operation like that functions. I’m told that there are multiple borders between areas where work is done for different companies that consider themselves competitors and that it’s a veritable city of making things. (Probably mostly neat looking stuff that ultimately ends up being thrown away after a year, which is sad to think about when you consider how much energy and attention and thought gets put into these things by hundreds of people who are ultimately making lovely, seductive, plastic-y garbage.)