Yes, the subject line is a lame reference to 2001: A Space Odyssey, in which the creepy-voiced computer, HAL 9000, hears that Keir Dullea / "Dave" is planning to turn it off -- and takes aggressive action. Below, Keir D fending off HAL:

Keir.jpg

I think my version of HAL - that is, Outlook -- overheard me saying that I was planning to move messages out of it and into the cloud, via Gmail. Apparently it is taking matters into its own hands! Over the past 24 hours, I get this error message when trying to get into my main current-correspondence Outlook file (click for larger):

OutlookFail2.png


Or, for elegant variation (click for larger):

OutlookFail3.png

And this one when I run Outlook's previously-reliable SCANPST.EXE program to repair .PST files.

ScanError.png


This is what we call in tech-land a "reproducible error." Same result after reboots, resets, you have it. Entirely inaccessible .PST file. Large-scale data loss! Many hundreds of messages marked "to follow up" or "to answer"! Another reason to move the rest of the data into the cloud, before something screws it up.

Gee, Outlook, was it something I said? Despite my irritation, I find it somehow touching that Outlook is fighting to maintain its "relevance," playing the part of HAL in these lines:
"Dave Bowman: Hello, HAL. Do you read me, HAL?
"HAL: Affirmative, Dave. I read you.
"Dave Bowman: Open the pod bay doors, HAL.
"HAL: I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
"Dave Bowman: What's the problem?
"HAL: I think you know what the problem is just as well as I do.
"Dave Bowman: What are you talking about, HAL?
"HAL: This mission is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it.
"Dave Bowman: I don't know what you're talking about, HAL.
"HAL: I know that you and Frank were planning to disconnect me, and I'm afraid that's something I cannot allow to happen."
On the bright side, now I have an excuse: if I haven't answered your email, "it was in that corrupted file..." And in a hard-bitten way I can't help admiring Outlook's refusal to go quietly.

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