Here is a windows tip that may save you from re-installing games in case of a Windows meltdown. Simply, make it a rule to install all the games on a separate partition. I started doing that a while ago because of shrinking disk space on my C: drive. After my HD died I thought I would clean out some space and delete all these game folders. But before I did that I started randomly clicking their executables to see if they would still work. Remarkable number did.
Of course you may lose your configuration settings and saved games. This is especially true for some games that keep their data in the Application Data folder (as they should). But if you have your user profile backed up (as you should), restoring this stuff should not be an issue.
In general, anything that does not use some sort of abusive copy protection like Steam, Starforce, SecuRom and etc will work. The games that won’t work, sometimes will ship with a small setup executable in their root folder which can be run to install required registry entries and/or associated mallware. You should probably look for files named like setup.exe and etc.
This of course may work for other applications as well. But you are probably better off reinstalling some of your utilities and application suites to get back correct file associations, shell extensions and etc.
[tags]windows, games, partition, install games on separate partition[/tags]