Rants, rambles, news and notes from another geek

Machine Repave Trials and Tribulations

I’ve always both loved and hated repaving my machine.&nbsp_place_holder;I love doing it a few times a year because it lets me start from scratch. It is like going through your closet or your garage and just throwing everything away. It feels good. It let’s you get back to just those things that you actually need. No extra crap in the way.

But, like with your closet or your garage, it is also painful. But for me the pain is different. When you do a “purge” of your physical stuff the pain is when you have to go through each thing and look at it, turn it over, think about the last time you used it and decide if you really need it anymore. When I repave my laptop, I basically just have to backup my profile (e.g. My Documents) and then reformat. Instead of pain on the purge side, there is pain on the repave side.

The pain comes with all the stuff I have to install to get back to a good place. Which is what I discovered on Monday when I decided to do it again.

The backup part went fairly well. I used xcopy to back up my profile to my external disk, then used the F12 RIS boot installer to pick up a nice fresh Windows XP SP2 install. The MS IT folks have a nice little system for this that walks you though a series of questions and when it is all done, you have your OS, Office, Anti-virus, RAS connectivity, etc. all ready to go.

Which, as I indicated before, is where the pain starts. The first thing that hurt was when I realized that I lost my most current archive.pst and personal.pst&nbsp_place_holder;because I forgot to make sure Outlook was completely shutdown before doing my xcopy. Which means the opened (and locked) PST files were skipped. And I also wasn’t careful enough about reading the list of skipped files that xcopy produced.

No biggie though, by the time mail gets into my archive, I generally don’t need it anymore, I just keep it in an attempt to be more organized an anal. The personal.pst file is a bit more annoying, not because I lost anything, but because I’ll have to regenerate it. You see, my personal.pst file was a carefully re-organized merging of four pst files from previous lives. Old emails, software registration codes, etc. I still have all of the old pst files, but I’m gonna have to re-merge them. Ugh. I just did it a week or so ago (hence no backup) and now I have to do it again.

Then comes the next pain. This is the one I expected: Installing all the software that I use to do my job (and have a little bit of fun too). I decided to fire up&nbsp_place_holder;a OneNote doc and keep track of everything I installed in roughly the order I installed it. This list isn’t complete however, because I take an agile approach to building my computer. I install things only when I need them. I’m sure over the coming weeks I will be installing more, but this is what I have installed over the past 3 days.

Update 2005-09-26 - Installed more stuff this weekend: