I have upgraded to 12.04 LTS from Lucid Lynx and have sorted most things out. I have a question in regard to taking measures to facilitate recovery in the event of a future hard drive crash.

Currently I have a separate smaller hard drive that I routinely backup my /Home partition user data to. Beyond that I am wondering what steps I should take to have access to configuration data so that a replacement drive could be brought up to 'speed' with as little difficulty as possible.

Questions:

1. Should I go ahead and purchase another hard drive for on the shelf? Any suggestions as to it's desired features? Current main drive is 250 GB.
2. Is there any particular utilities I can take advantage of to record my present hard drive partitioning information?
3. Is there a way to make my backup (archive) drive bootable or should I just rely on a Live CD?
4. What is the most efficient way to collect information on downloaded/installed apps (those taken thru Synaptic Package Mgr for instance) and upgrades to establish a listing
for future reference?

So really what is needed is a checklist of some sort that highlights all software presently installed & my present hardware configuration.

Any suggestions are welcome,

Ed