Basically, the way I did it was to install Virtualbox, install a Linux VM with Apache, PHP and MySQL configured reasonably close to the running environment.
Pulling the live site off involves creating a tarball of everything in the htdoc directory except the image cache, Magento cache, sessions and a compressed mysqldump.
If you get fancy, you can do it with rsync.
Shut the apache server and cron job down, untar the htdoc directory, import the mysqldump, run a script to set file ownership and permissions to match your http server's running needs, import a sql script that changes the base URLs, resets email addresses to your dev address, turns on/off various settings for modules you don't want sending emails, updating external services. Copy over your server specific app/etc/local.xml.
At that point start the http server and cron and you should be live.
If you're proficient with shell scripting, it's all pretty much automatic, not a lot of fiddling. And you're either running Linux in Windows or Linux in Mac for a nice all-around work environment.