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Recently, I noticed that desktop computer has been running pretty slowly. It had been a long, long time since I had taken inventory of my internal and several external hard drives. So I decided that this weekend would be a good time to take stock of all the files I had stored over time, confident that I would find myself deleting many and defragging afterward.

Delete I have! And as soon as I publish this article, the defragging will begin. I anticipate happily finding my hard drive humming along at a faster pace when I return to it tomorrow.

Several years ago, I purchased a PC with Media Center. My new laptop also came with the program. “Back in the day” we all lived with VCR’s connected to our televisions which we programmed to record our favorite shows on videotape in six-hour maximum increments. Of course, we had to check the listings, program the VCR to record at the right time on the right channel, etc. And if we planned to be away from home and wished to record more than six hours of programming, we had to have more than one VCR. I remember well the days of negotiating with BigBob and the kids when there were both movies and Nascar races being broadcast while we planned to be away for a weekend or vacation.

Media Center changed all of that. The cable television decoder box is attached to the computer and Media Center downloads the television listings automatically, so it is not necessary to know precisely when the program you want to record is being broadcast. You simply search for the program by title, category or a key word. When you find the program you want, you tell Media Center to record it. For your favorite series, simply click “record series” and whether you want every episode to record or only the first-run episodes. Most television programs are broadcast more than once these days, so if there is a date or time conflict, Media Center will resolve it for you automatically. Media Center will record as many programs as you want so long as you have enough free space on your hard drive to accommodate the large video files.

And therein lay the problem. Lately, Media Center had alerted me many times to the fact that there would not be enough space on my hard drive to record upcoming scheduled programs. So I spent time studying the contents of my hard drives and realized that I had stored many, many video files that needed to be deleted because I was never going to watch them.

For instance, when I hear about a new series that sounds interesting, I program Media Center to record it, planning to watch a few episodes to see if I agree with the pre-premiere “buzz.” Since I very rarely just sit down and watch a television show or movie, Media Center affords me the opportunity to watch the video files at my convenience, fast-forwarding through commercials, while I am blogging, or reading other folks’ blogs or the various periodicals that I read online. I just split the monitor space, placing the video file on one side and the website or application window on the other.

I had stockpiled many episodes of several television series in which I have either completely lost interest, e.g., “Lost,” “The Closer,” “House,” or which have been canceled. For instance, I recorded “Canterbury’s Law” earlier this year, but had no time to watch any of the episodes. Since it has been canceled, I deleted all of them because there is no point in getting interested now in a series that won’t be returning to the airwaves.

I have a few mind maps (tucked into my calendar which is stored in my briefcase) on which I have scribbled some brief ideas for upcoming articles. I also have some newspaper and magazine articles stapled to those mind maps, along with some blog posts that I printed out because I found them interesting and felt inspired, as I was reading them, to write more about the particular topics addressed therein.

And do you know how many draft posts are on my WordPress dashboard? (I use the term “draft” in reference to posts that I have started drafting, but which remain incomplete.) Zero. None. Zilch. Not a single one.

When I blog, I spend a lot of time thinking about what I am going to write. I write in my head. I even edit in my head. But I spend comparatively little time actually drafting the post. And I write virtually every post in its entirety, click “publish,” and then walk away from the computer. Very rarely do I begin writing a post, save it in draft form, and return later to complete the task.

Which means that I also do not have scheduled entries. When you see new content from me, you can be pretty confident that I just wrote it.

So . . . what’s on your hard drive?

Do you have folders brimming with ideas for upcoming blog posts, fictional works or other projects? Do you have video files stored that you are never going to get around to watching? Or is your hard drive full of bookmarks designed to lead you back to various internet sites? How many of those bookmarks do you think will actually lead you back to those sites at some point in the future? When was the last time you took inventory of the folders and filed stored on your hard drive and engaged in some serious purging?

And now I have to defrag.


  1. I tend to be a bit of an “info junkie”, bookmarking way more pages than necessary. Over the years, I’ve developed a habit of lightly pruning files and folders monthly, and then cleaning and defragging.

    As for writing, what you see is what you get with me. I use the camera to record important events and then build a quick story around the photos for my main blog. For others, I rarely let a post “sit and simmer” for long, generally publishing as soon as it’s written. I’ve mulled it in my mind for some time before committing it to paper.

    Shari Thomas´s most recent post: Just call us “Sanford’s Gals”

  2. People should treat their computer like a lawn, making sure to whack the weeds and trim the bushes every once in a while 😛 :mrgreen:

    PCLicious Video Tutorials´s most recent post: Default Browser, How To Set In 2 Easy Steps Any Browser In Windows To

  3. good luck with that. 🙂 i have a file where i store haiku that i’ve squirreled away, as well as topics for future haiku.

    kouji haiku´s most recent post: haiku poem

  4. Rika Susan's Home Remodeling

    I know I need to do this, but I am usually too scared! I may know a lot about writing, but I don’t know much about the technical stuff – that I mostly leave to my partner. So, I am way to afraid that I will wipe out crucial stuff to attempt this kind of thing on my own. Nice blog you have here! I will be back for more…

    Rika Susan’s Home Remodeling´s most recent post: Secrets Behind A Successful Discount Laminate Flooring Installation

  5. I’m a programmer and save everything I’ve ever done, just in case I need to refer to it or reuse it. I dread to think of reformatting. Bookmarks gallore, documents, websites I’ve designed, etc. I have one of those Media Center laptops also but have not used it for media. Didn’t want to fill it up.

  6. But! Do you regularly back up your data just in case of a catastrophic hard drive failure? We all need to do that, so we don’t lose things like a blog topics folder.

    becky´s most recent post: End of something good?

  7. I “used” to be like this but I bought the hp mediasmart server and wow my life has changed. My laptop is darn near empty except for essential programs I need if I’m away from my server. Everyone in the house shares the server, no more duplicates… life is a joy now 🙂 And if I “accidently” delete a file? The server backs up every computer in the house every night so I can usually get the file back in about two minutes, or even revert my whole computer back to a certain day. The nice thing is you don’t have to be a computer wiz to use it.

    Kansas A´s most recent post: Stop SPAM on your Telus phone

  8. I don’t think I will totally reformat, but I think it’s about time I tried that Disk Defragmenter. My disk really could use some defragmenting right about now, ha ha.

  9. What’s on my hard drive? According to my computer…nothing. Apparently, my hard drive is no longer there. Fantastic.

  10. I’ve learned my lesson 2 years ago when the power outage somehow destroyed my HD. Since then, I store all my important data on a flash drive and upload it on idrive.com (2Gb for free).

    Jamie´s most recent post: Using Window Blinds In Your Home

  11. i too love the feeling of a refreshed system. 🙂 feels quicker. downside is that it’s easy to lose stuff. 🙁

  12. My life is on my hard drive!

    Music, Pictures, Memories…

    Enough not to want to lose! I recommend everyone backs up all their important files, because once I had a crash and lost a lot of stuff, was verrry upset 🙁

  13. I recommend everyone to backs up all their important files, because once you have a crash and loose a lot of stuff, you will be very upset. Thank you for the reminder. Karen is one smart lady and I love her blog.

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