Agree with you. One of the advantages/snags with a flakey installation is the need to start from scratch if you really want to be rid of the debris of the old system.
I liked 98SE for its predictability - not all of that was welcome!
But to me it seemed part of life to expect to reinstall very occasionally or to Have a good clone in the background to overwrite the running system when it became rough. That was one of the important advantages of partitioning too, even though with 2K and XP it is possible to do all sorts of restorations without a format.