When you call Dell for tech support on your unstable system, that you are fairly certain is hardware-related, don't forget to laugh in their face when they suggest your repair install with media of a lower service pack than you currently have installed.
When you fail to laugh in their faces, be prepared to have your system be very, very, very dead...Like low-level registry corruption dead.
Luckily, I did know this one: When they say "Well, your OS is corrupted, you'll have to reformat your hard drive." Laugh in their face.
Remember, the Microsoft "Knowledge Base" has substantial holes, but can sometimes point you on the right path.
Don't lose track of which registry files are the old, the new, the bad, the suspect, etc.
Database files and their transaction logs must, in general, be moved as a unit.
When in doubt, a fully commited database without a log file is your safest bet. Note: hey, doofus--XP and 2K store a full, consistent set of these with each System Restore Point snapshot
I suppose I could use a Mac or UNIX platform--but think of all the fun I'd miss!