If you own a computer, especially a laptop, whether it's a Mac or PC.....BACKUP!
I can not stress this point more. Within the last year, I have seen more disasters of people losing all their family pictures, email and other valuable information, because they did not backup their data. Those who got off lucky by sending their computer in for recovery were left with a hefty bill.
So, depending upon your setup, there are some very simple solutions for backing up. The more the process can be automated, the better, because as humans we are lazy.
If you are using a Mac, first upgrade it to Leopard (if you can) and take advantage of Apple's automated backup software called Time Machine. Secondly, get a decent external firewire hard drive. I am fond of the Lacies and G-Drives, you can usually find good deals at Tekserve in Manhattan, or the Apple Store.
A 500GB drive will cost roughly $100.00.
As soon as you plug in your external drive into a Mac with the Leopard OS installed, Time Machine will prompt you, and ask you if you want to use this drive as a Time Machine Backup device. (Say Yes). Time Machine will then backup your entire hard drive, so go take a coffee break.
Future backups will be incremental, and will only backup modified items and will run once every hour.
I find the "once an hour thing" a bit overkill for me, and being that I always remember to backup, I simply turn off Time Machine, and just
select Backup Now from the Time Machine Menu item everyday.
There are ways to leave on automatic and increase the time between backups, but it is a bit technical. Hopefully, Apple will include this feature in future updates.
Additionally, you can tweak what you don't want backed up. I don't backup Applications, because I have the original installers, so you can add the Applications folder to the "Do not Backup" area in Time Machine System Preference.
To get your backup solution started you will need to invest some money into a setup.
1. $100-200 for backup Firewire drive depending upon the size of your internal drive.
2. $100 for Leopard (if you don't already own it)
Some of you may be thinking, wow, $300 for a backup setup, I can't afford that in this economy. Well, if your hard drive dies and you absolutely need to get it recovered, it will cost you anywhere from $500 to $3000 depending on where you take it and how much data you have. Make the investment and take the time to backup your files.
Other alternatives for small data backups are USB Jump drives, CDs or DVDs.
These are fine alternatives, but they cannot be automated, and requires you to remember to backup.
If you are on PC, (why are reading PetetheMac's blog :) ).
Seriously though, there are some backup solutions for the PC.
Here is a link to once such automated solution:
If you would like assistance with a Macintosh backup solution,
feel free to contact me:
Happy Computing : )