Hm, Word 2007 has a safe mode. Interesting. If you hold down the Control key and then launch Word 2007 you get a message saying Word has detected you are holding down the control key start in safe mode? I was only holding down the key in anticipation of word loading up; once it was complete the v key would have been pressed thereby pasting information from the clipboard for a quick spellcheck. I’ll have to check other versions of word that I have in use – currently that’s only version 2002 on the other laptop actually – to see if this is a new feature or one that has been in there for ages. I have a copy of Word 97 somewhere. I could load that on a virtual pc and have a look at that.

I’ve turned on the external USB drive so I can back up the laptop, then it’s off again. There has been no re-occurrence of the USB drive ‘rebooting’ so I’m pointing an accusatory finger at the USB Buffalo hard drive.