When heroes go down

Incidentally – and apropos of diddly-squat – the other week I found out what happens when Mac OS X runs out of hard disk space. Not, I hasten to add, on my machine, but on a colleague’s five year-old iBook running 10.3, on a 10Gb drive, bless.

The short answer is: not a lot. It refuses to save anything, obviously, and everything goes veeeery verrrry slooooooowwwwwwlyyyy, but it basically keeps running. Which surprised the hell out of me.

The owner was marginally less surprised, but then, she had been clicking ‘OK’ every morning on polite little dialogue boxes telling her that her startup disk was terribly terribly close to being full. For six months. In the end, we managed to reclaim 3Gb simply by shifting all her music off, backing up her Entourage mail database, then letting the poor iBook crunch away for three hours repairing and compacting said mail database, and finally putting all the music back on.

Yes, 30% of her drive was taken up by fragmentation in Entourage’s monolithic database. Nice as it is, I remember why I stopped using Em@iler all those years ago…


  1. What iBook is it? I’ve got a 233 G3 iBook running 10.3 and I’m constantly surprised at how useful it still is. I upgraded the hard drive and RAM (30 GB and 192 MB respectively) and she runs so nicely.

  2. It’s a 500MHz G3 (white, USB), with I think 384Mb RAM. It’s a nice little box, it’s just been heavily-used for the last five years, and it’s showing its age badly. Poor thing.

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