Cloning is not all it is cracked up to be

Well I finally gave up on the clone. I mean, there was just too much damn junk on that drive. After about two years, windows just gets cranky and I think the best thing to do is just reinstall it from scratch. My version of windows didn't have any problem trying to access my 180GB drive. The biggest down side is that it took forever to download all of the updates. Most updates needed a reboot, so this process took several hours. After windows was loaded I had to go through the same procedure with Office. Fun. Next I tried getting all of my email settings up and running while also restoring my outlook.pst file. This was a bit of a pain in the ass, and required me to reinstall my old hard drive and run the Microsoft Office Save My Settings Wizard. This application is buried in the Microsoft Office Tools directory. The application created a file that I was able to import into my new version of Office. This mostly worked, except when I click on the To.. button when I try to send an email I get an error message. I haven't debugged that quite yet. Really, It is on the list.
The Dell Inspiron 6000 that I bought had a bunch of pre-installed software on it as well. There is really no way to recover these applications. Dell puts all of these applications on an install partition. In the future I will keep a copy of this partition. However, I wouldn't be surprised if they changed this method for Vista. Most of the software can be downloaded from their web site. There a couple of things that you can't get, but It is not really a big deal.
My next step has been to slowly reinstall applications. For drivers, I usually download the latest from the web and install that instead of the original disk. So far the biggest pain has been quicken. Unfortunately, I upgraded quicken via some wonky online mechanism, so I don't have the original disks. There is a way to do this by calling quicken if you registered. It is really a pain. This is probably a good time to look at other alternatives again.
In general, I am only reinstalling a program if I need it. So far, the system is running much faster and seems to be happier.

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