Don't Let Your Lack of Back Up Bring You Down
If it ever happened to you before, you know better than not to perform regular backups on your computer. Now, if you've never had your hard drive wiped out by an attacker or a virus that crashed your system, you will want to take this piece of advice and really think hard - do you want your data to become corrupted or get wiped out by a hardware problem?
None of us expect it to happen, but it will happen. Sometimes it happens for no good particular reason, it may be the hard drive's age that brings it crashing down. Or a tree limb crashes down on your laptop when you're sitting in the park. That's why it's vital that you always back up your important information and have a plan for recovering from a system failure.
Faced with that information, we all know that we're guilty of not backing up our computers. Most of us computer users "know" we "should" back up, but many never get around to it. Or maybe you did make an initial backup but don't update it regularly. Use the built-in Windows backup program (Ntbackup.exe in Windows NT, 2000, and XP) or a third-party backup program and schedule backups to occur automatically.
You can also store backed up data on another server or removable drive in a location away from the computer itself, in case of a natural disaster like flood, fire, or tornado. (In some areas of the country, this happens a lot. But you will want to take this precaution whether or not you live in the Midwest's "Tornado Alley" or along any coastline.)
It's the data that is the most important thing on your computer. Your computer's operating system can be reinstalled and so can applications, but if your hard drive has crashed and burned, bringing back or recreating your data may be a next to impossible feat.
To end the hunt for the original CDs that came with your computer (try the basement closet full of old computer equipment and boxes), save that time and also back up your system information at the same time you back your data up. Create mirror images of your disks using popular ghost or clone programs. This will allow you to get your system back fast instead of going through the prolonged agony of installation.