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.
- First I domain-join my machine…which is fun doing over VPN and usually takes a few times to get the domain servers to realize you are for real
- Office 2010 – well, because you know…mail and stuff
- Notepad 2 – I go with the 64-bit code-folding fork from code.kliu.org – it sets up everything for me to make notepad2.exe be the default instance of notepad.
- I also then create a shell extension to ensure ‘Edit with Notepad2’ is in my context menu always.
- Windows Live Writer – my indispensable blogging companion
- Creative Commons Plugin
- Twitter Plugin (note I also modify the registry to use Bit.ly as my UrlShortener)
- S3Browser Plugin
- Ninite – it honestly is super fast compared to me downloading each one-by-one (I use this for the next 10 in my list here)
- Firefox, Safari, Chrome and Opera browsers.
- Foxit Reader
- Web Platform Installer – this is great for getting the MS tools.
- Indispensable for getting SQL Server 2008 Express installed quickly
- Axialis Icon Workshop
- Camtasia and SnagIt – because they rock
- Cloudberry Pro for Amazon S3 and FTP
- Code File Preview Handler
- Foxit PDF Preview Handler
- DAMon – an internal tool to monitor my remote access connectivity
- LinkTrax – internal tool for managing tracking links
- FWLink – internal tool for managing product links
- Product Studio – internal bug tracking for some teams (yes, we use Team Foundation Server as well)
- Microsoft SharedView
- Home Server Connector Software
- Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate
- Silverlight Tools for Visual Studio
- Silverlight Toolkit
- Expression Blend and Expression Encoder
- TabsStudio for Visual Studio – I use Roger Peters’ styling
- XAML Intellisense by Karl Shifflett
- TortoiseSVN and VisualSVN – by the way, Trunks rocks!
- Sandcastle and Sandcastle Help File Builder
- Silverlight Spy
- Fiddler 2
- Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop
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!