The last windows I installed was XP and it was incredibly tedious. Maybe its better with windows 7?
This is entirely subjective.
As an example, this "tedious" procedure, as you've called it, is something I prefer immensely over the methods used elsewhere. I think I'm in the minority when I say I like the Windows install process, but different strokes for different folks I suppose.
Related concept would be software installation and upgrading on each platform. I can't stand package managers or the concept of them; I prefer to keep a library of installers somewhere (external HDD in my case) and reference that collection after a new Windows install. This way, if I've found a version I like better than the newest, it's substantially simpler to obtain the older version (and that tends to be the case; Fireworks 8, Winamp 5.35, couple-versions-old Nero...)
And re: ripster, for that sort of thing with me, I also keep a backed up copy of my application data folders (there are indeed a couple scattered about) and for the programs which store their preferences in their installation folder, a copy of that folder itself.