I just had the least painful workstation restore process EVAR.
I decided to repartition the drive on my mac, and because I had stuff all over the current drive, I figured it’d be a good opportunity to test Time Machine, so I imaged the drive onto a spare disk, did a backup with TM, then repartitioned the disk.
I reinstalled OS X, and as part of the reinstall, it asked “Would you like to copy data from a Time Machine backup?” – I click yes, it grinds away to itself a bit, and then .. done. Everything back the way it was, mail, every single application (apple or otherwise), web, cookies, passwords, etc. Totally. Painless.
Every time I strike some third-party mac application that is annoyingly sucky (Second Life, I’m looking at you) or just totally unavailable (Warhammer Online, I’m looking at you) I strike something like this which reminds me why they rule.