First time here?

You are looking at the most recent posts. You may also want to check out older archives. Please leave a comment, ask a question and consider subscribing to the latest posts via RSS or email. Thank you for visiting!

I recently found a good deal on a 7200 RPM 500GB latpop drive and decided to upgrade myself to that.  I’ve been operating on a 150GB drive for a long time and hadn’t been cleaning up old projects, encodings, etc. so it was running thin on space.  This was a cheap upgrade (< $90) so I opted for it.  I finally got a moment last evening to pop it in and start the fresh installs of everything.  Doing so reminded me of how long this process takes for us geeky people.  Luckily I do a backup first using my Home Server so that in the event I screw up, things are there.  Now most would say that I should just pop in the hard drive and do a restore.  I don’t do this for 2 reasons frankly.  First, I have to admit, the ‘restore’ process for me on Home Server hasn’t always been a consistent one.  Don’t be alarmed, there is no data loss, but I’ve found I had to mess with network connections, etc. blah blah…and sometimes it isn’t worth the hassle (emergencies? absolutely).  Second, and most important, I am paranoid of technical grout…or residue of install/uninstall/beta/alpha/etc versions of software.  Sometimes you just want a nice clean slate.

So after my backup I put in the new drive and booted to my network to install Windows 7 x64.  That process is the fastest of the bunch now, clocking in from start of install to workable desktop in about 30 minutes tops.  It’s the rest that I’m reminded of how long it takes.  Now I know I am not (nor likely are you) the ‘normal’ user.  Most would probably suffice with Office install after that, a few tweaks and be good.  Not me, I’m particular.  Here’s my list of what I install and some notes on them.

There are various other 3rd party components and frameworks for Visual Studio and Silverlight that I may install from time-to-time, but the above is my baseline dev machine.  For some this may be a lot, for others this may not be enough.  I don’t think I’m excessive, but somewhere in between.  Still looking (and doing) this is always daunting.

I know, I know…people will write comments below about disk imaging, Acronis, etc., etc.  I’ve tried all those methods before.  Call me paranoid, but I just like to be in control of my own stuff still.  Perhaps I’ll relinquish the control soon. 

It does feel good to have a clean machine though!

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution By license.

3/30/2010 10:01 PM | # re: New hard drive means re-install everything
Did you have issues registering Windows 7? I have an SSD as my primary disk, which is fantastic, but I've decided it isn't big enough and want to reinstall. However I worry that it might be seen as a hardware change by Microsoft.
3/30/2010 10:11 PM | # re: New hard drive means re-install everything
ross -- it would be seen as new hardware, but you shouldn't have problems activating a valid license.
3/31/2010 1:39 AM | # re: New hard drive means re-install everything
Ever used LINQPad? I can't imagine developing without it. I wish it was part of Visual Studio or SQL Enterprise Manager.
3/31/2010 4:02 AM | # re: New hard drive means re-install everything
What about a diffing tool? Don't you use Beyond Compare (my favorite) or Axialis Merge, or something similar?
3/31/2010 6:34 AM | # re: New hard drive means re-install everything
Do you use a virus scanner?
I do not run a virus scanner on my dev machine, I hate to share the precious resources with a virus scanner ..

// Ryan
3/31/2010 7:39 AM | # re: New hard drive means re-install everything
Nice list, and as I am repaving my machine, very timely. My list is quite similar with a few key differences.

Metapad over Notepad2, but I will have to check this out.

ImgBurn - Win7 has a nice iso burning feature now, so I find I don't need this.

I used to like Snag-It, but with OneNote screen capture, I find I rarely use it anymore.

I use TortiseHG and VisualHG, but same idea. The HG and SVN don't seem to want to live side-by-side.

One thing missing from your list - Reflector!

Good list - I'll have to check some out.

3/31/2010 10:19 AM | # re: New hard drive means re-install everything
Notepad++ is another must have ;-)
I'm glad I'm not the only one suffering from long (VS.NET) installation times (even if everything kicks in automatically). I have uninstalled and upgraded Silverlight a couple of times with UAC enabled and somehow there is this delay before the confirmation messagebox appears. It all works fine, deinstalling 4-7 tools and reinstalling it, but does it have to be so cumbersome in 2010?
3/31/2010 10:41 AM | # re: New hard drive means re-install everything
Where's ReSharper on your list???
3/31/2010 11:57 AM | # re: New hard drive means re-install everything
Now that you have a clean machine--ghost it (using your HD backup software of choice)! Next "clean sweep" will be that much quicker!
4/3/2010 8:59 PM | # re: New hard drive means re-install everything
When you were all done, did the new hard drive seem faster than the previous one? In my opinion, even though when I replace a hard drive on my machine the new drive might be the same speed as the older one, things "seem" faster :-)
4/18/2010 9:35 AM | # re: New hard drive means re-install everything
Formatting the hard drive once again will definitely clean the hard drive, even the files that you do not want deleted. I know that now, but how I wish I knew this months ago, because if only I did, then I would have backed up my important files in an external hard drive. Very informative, though. Thank you very much.
3/12/2011 6:31 AM | # re: New hard drive means re-install everything
Next step was to boot from Windows DVD,70-272 test create a single primary partition. Then create .vhd files on root. Installed the base OS into one of the .vhd files and create differencing disks after that. 70-573 test Now I have two differencing disks, one for demos and one for work. 70-284 test The physical disk does not contain anything other than my VHD files, the page file and a few temporary files that 70-238 test I don't want to clutter on the VHDs

7/21/2011 8:08 PM | # Mockuptiger
MockupTiger is enterprise class prototyping/wireframe and mockup tool. It is absolutely free to use

Please add 5 and 8 and type the answer here:


The opinions/content expressed on this blog are provided "ASIS" with no warranties and are my own personal opinions/content (unless otherwise noted) and do not represent my employer's view in any way.