Drivers Down

As a part of my recent depackratification of my office, I’ve decided to get rid of some old computer driver CDs.

True, they were not actually taking up that much space, as I’ve stored them within CD binders whenever I got a new piece of equipment. In the olden days, I even built my own machines, so I got a CD for each part.

But if I get rid of these, I can put into those CD binders other CDs, thus freeing a little more space where I stored those CDs in jewel cases.

But it’s not without some trepidation. Over drivers, of all things.

Standing on a desk, the CDs stack to about five and a half inches. Spread attractively on the floor, they look like this:

Could they have won Dancing with the Stars?  I think not.

Among these disks, I have memories triggered of the machines I built. My AMD K6/2 machine. A dual-processor machine I built around the turn of the century that later got buggy, so I gave the motherboard, memory, and processors to a friend for him to build a machine and figure out which among them was bad. I also built a machine and ordered a second set of the main parts when I had difficulty with it. When I got the problem resolved, I was left with a duplicate machine, almost, and my Aunt Dale allowed me to build a machine for her that was overpowered for her needs, but it let me recoup the cost of the duplicate parts in her payment. After that, I started buying my dualies from an outfit called Monarch Computers, and I bought a couple machines from them. When it was time for me to get a new machine a couple years back, I tried to find them, but they’d changed ownership, and the new owners screwed the trusting previous customers until they went out of business, so it’s been TigerDirect for me since them.

I’d always relied on Norton, and later Symantec, for anti-virus until just recently, so I had copies of pretty much every version of the yellow CDs from the late 1900s to 2007 or 2008. There’s even an AOL CD in there, AOL for Broadband which I installed at some point ca 2004 when I was running a QA lab in my house. Of course, I still am, but nobody tests through AOL any more.

The hardest thing about disenhoardization is that these simple little trinkets are kind of memory triggers, and somewhere inside I’m afraid I’ll lose the memories if I lose the triggers.

Also, given the nature of technology, I feel a bit bad because once I toss these drivers, the technology will be lost. If you’ve ever looked on the Internet for five-year-old drivers, you know that companies tend to rotate support downloads out pretty quickly to flog their new machines. You can’t find drivers for old operating systems, either. So I know that somewhere, sometime, someone on the Internet is going to wish he had the very disk I’m dumping today. Some Liteon CD-ROM drive for Windows 2000. Maybe a Creative sound card for an old Windows 95 box he’s built so he can play games that came out when he was a kid. But he can’t find the drivers anywhere.

Well, I can’t be there for that theoretical guy who might need that disk in 10 years and would never have known I have it anyway.

Out they go.

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