It’s curious how joyful it is to reinstalling all your OS and dependencies. It’s like getting a new toy, except the part that you need to reconfigure everything.

To help on that matter you can share your configuration through open source repos, or having them stored in a safe place. The last option is difficult to archive without having to trust on third party companies like Apple, Google or Dropbox. Fortunately we have open source projects that solve the problem of encrypting your data (arguably) more safely.

Encrypting credentials

To encrypt your data safely, you can use a piece of software like VeraCrypt, which has the main goal of creating virtual encrypted disks. The idea of VeraCrypt is to mount the disk in a point that you can transfer data back and forth, and after your job is done only unmount and Veracrypt will encrypt that disk again.

You can use VeraCrypt to store things like your SSH and GPG keys, also you can store certificates and other kinds of sensible information.

Before formatting

Make sure you save your credentials and export your GPG keys before everything is erased. It is also a good time to check your passwords and recovery strategies for main accounts like your email or Github.

Another point is to prepare your installation. In my case I was reinstalling MacOS, so I had to prepare an external drive and put MacOS Mojave on that. Of course this is not necessary but it’s a good idea to not depend on internet to format and reinstall your system.

After installing the new system

This is a good oportunity to list and install only the essential software. In my case I had a list of a few:

Some of the dependencies of those software were installed using Homebrew and the brew cask command.

Experimenting new stuff

This time was good because I could simplify my environment and try new things. I changed my default shell program from ZSH to Fish, and I’m very happy with it.

Another experimentation was to replace Vundle with Plug on vim/neovim land. Plug has some handy features like lazy load of plugins by extension or command, and is more active in development.

Summing up

It’s great to have a fresh system again! But it’s a pain to reconfigure everything from scratch. So my advice is to keep your config files saved and updated somewhere, in order to have an easy setup. This way you don’t have to fear when reinstalling the system.