The zen of wiping your hard disk

If things seem a little quiet round here, there's a very good reason for it. After several years of loyal service, it looks like my hard disk is about to give up. Blue screens of death are becoming a daily occurence (and often more than once). I've already done one complete Windows re-install… and whilst that has its benefits, giving an immediate performance improvement, it hasn't solved the problems. So my priority just now is keeping the machine going.
It's been quite an interesting experience, actually. Faced with a clean XP installation, what are the programs I simply had to reinstall immediately? The list, if you're interested:

  • AVG antivirus and Kerio personal firewall (naturally)
  • Microsoft's free SyncToy, to keep the backups ticking over
  • Firefox (with all personal settings and extensions restored from a copy of the portable version – an unexpected benefit!)
  • Outlook and ActiveSync (restoring all my calendar and contacts from PDA!)
  • Skype
  • Winamp
  • Desktop Sidebar (I can't live without it, apparently)
  • Photoshop Elements (which I thought for a nasty minute I'd lost entirely)
  • Picajet

Plus, of course, all the usual drivers etc. I'm still coming across other things I suddenly remember I need; but that's the list for now.