I don't know about you, but I have this dream of computing nirvana which starts with a tabula rasa of a freshly reformatted PC, the installation of only the essential programs and the start of a 'best practise' regime of backups and clutter-killing on a regular basis.
Well, today I found someone had beaten me to the first part of this geek dream. The Freeware Genius blog has a very detailed post on reinstalling Windows and outfitting your system with only freeware applications. First he takes you through the programs he uses to backup and partition the hard drive (he recommends a couple of programs I hadn't heard of including Unstoppable Copier and Amic Email Backup). Once you've reinstalled, he recommends a heap (53 in total) of freeware programs for starting again from scratch. He describes each program, so it's worth browsing the list to see if there's anything there you'd find useful. I've bookmarked this one for reference when I find the time to reformat my computer!
Reinstall Windows and outfit your system with all freeware programs [Freeware Genius]