Over the course of two days -- it sat off to one side and I paid attention to it when necessary and when I had the time -- I got the OS, drivers, updates (lots of those), and programs I regularly use installed. Everything seemed pretty stable and clean. I ran a registry clean and then defragmented the drive. Even on a fresh installation, MyRegistryCleaner found messes presumably left over from the various installation files behaving badly, and the drive was already badly fragmented. With something approaching a fresh, clean system, I cloned it into an identical drive, then swapped the clone in place of the original drive to make sure it worked and to spread the wear on the drives themselves. To the extent that anything in an Windows environment is in good shape, I appear to have a clean and stable backup computer again.
It even has the Match Game sound effects re-loaded.