New hard drives have arrived for my workstation and laptop. They’re desperately overdue for a rebuild. I love rebuilding and I hate it. I love it because newly built machines run so smoothly, so cleanly, and have that new-machine smell. It’s like virtual spring-cleaning.
I hate rebuilding because there’s so much stuff on my machines. I’ve done a better job over the years of compartmentalizing (and even backing up) my data, but there’s still a lot of it – more than I’d like. And the applications. I use so many applications! Every rebuild I think “I don’t need 3/4 of these apps. I’m not putting them back on.” But eventually, inevitably, as I work on this and that my installed app list grows, and I find myself installing a significant amount of the apps I insisted I wouldn’t. Such is the curse of the breadth of things I work on, I suppose. Just this morning a coworker from a completely different department commented that I’m the bitch for my department. I work on whatever needs working on. My boss generously calls me his “tool belt.” Bitch is, honestly, more accurate.
Anyway, here are a few things that make my rebuild process less arduous.
- I always build fresh onto new drives, holding onto the old ones. Drives are cheap. There’s nothing worse than blowing your drive away, rebuilding, and suddenly remembering something of Significant Importance™ that you forgot to back up. Don’t sweat that. Take the time to decrypt your current drives (you do encrypt them, don’t you) and set them aside. Build on a new drive, and keep your old ones around for a few weeks just to be sure. Then you can wipe them and use them as scratch drives or external storage or replacement drives for that friend whose drive craps out or whatever.
- Make a list of your installed applications. It’s easy:
- Open a command prompt with elevated rights (Start > Run > type in CMD. When the CMD icon appears, right click and Run as Administrator).
- Type in WMIC.
- Type in /output:c:\path\to\installed_list.txt product get name,version where path\to is, well, the path to wherever you want to write your installed_list.txt.
- Wait for it to finish. Enjoy list of apps.
- Back up all your drivers using Double Driver.
- Do you use Lastpass? A bookmarks manager like X-Marks? You should. No more forgetting to copy your bookmarks.
- I use Thunderbird as a mail client. I was using Zindus to sync my contacts with a gmail account, but he’s announced he’s shutting it down. Sigh. I’m giving a try to gContactsSync now.
I’ll add more to my list as my latest rebuilds commence.