Recovering from a hard drive crash tells you a lot about yourself.  What do you backup? What do you miss? And what can't you live without as you start to re-create your digital life (or laptop)?  I at least had advanced warning from the intermittent BSODs that usually occurred during a critical e-mail writing storm.  Rising from the ashes looked something like the following for me:

  • Replace hard drive (good first step, right?)
  • Install Vista Enterprise SP1 from the network (PXE)
  • Plug-in ethernet cable (wireless not working yet...)
  • Join myself to the corporate domain
  • Reboot
  • Add myself to the local administrator's group
  • Install ISA Firewall Client from Intranet
  • Auto-Enroll for wireless certificate
  • Wireless is now working and I can un-tether myself again
  • Install Office 2007 (gotta get that e-mail working again)
  • Autoconfigure Outlook .... ready to start downloading several GB of e-mail
  • Install FolderShare (the absolute easiest way to recover all the files I have backed up on my other machines)...  10 minutes later, I'm functional again
  • Now time to install those other applications you can't live without
  • Install Office Communicator so people realize I'm back in action
  • Install VPN client
  • Install Adobe Reader
  • Install Adobe Flash
  • Install Adobe AIR, so I can ...
  • Install Twhirl
  • Install Silverlight
  • Install PowerShell (passionate hobby ;-)
  • Install Zune (not critical, but I much prefer this to WMP)
  • Install Windows Live Writer (how else would I write this?)

Done. I'm probably overlooking some things, but so far I haven't missed them.