It all meant one thing: time for a new drive.
Notebook hard drives have been both notoriously hard to fit and notoriously expensive. That's a set of myths I'm happy to blow away. Not only did a 100GB Seagate drive (with all the anti-shock features you want in a laptop) cost around £50 with postage, it slotted into the notebook with ease. One crew to undo the drive bay, another four for the carrier. One thing to note - it pays to shop around a bit for drives. Some of the usual suspects have limited (and expensive) stock. I ended up at an old favourite, RL Supplies, who got me the drive in just over 24 hours from placing the order.
I didn't bother imaging the old disk. For one thing, I use my notebook as a local cache of files I keep on the server, and for another, Toshiba had just come out with a set of Vista drivers for my machine. That meant there was no need to hack together a system using Toshiba's drivers for the related M400, and no more downloading hacked versions of the Nvidia video drivers.
So I just went for a completely fresh install. I plugged in the portable DVD drive, and pulled out my MSDN disks. Everything went on in a couple of hours, including Office, and the machine has just finished happily snarfling data off the server.
Next, I need to install some of my usual applications. Firefox first, then Semagic and the Flickr Uploadr. And that should just be about it. I can't think of anything else that I really need on the road. Well, apart from Geometry Wars...