Experienced computer users know that there are two types of people:
a) those who have already lost data and
b) those who are going to experience the pain of losing data in the future.
Backup small amounts of data on removable media:, i.e. memory stick, etc. and larger amounts on CDs or DVDs and larger external disk drives.
If you have access to a network, save copies of your data on another computer in the network.
How often should I backup?
You should make weekly (I do this daily) backups of all your important data.
And make sure you have your original software start-up disks handy and available in the event your computer system files get damaged.
Be prepared! The more important/irreplaceable your data is the more your need to backup.
What do I need to Backup?
You need to backup what you can’t easily recreate.
Images, Documents, Spreadsheets, Presentations, Data collected by a specific program and e-mail.
Usually files are stored in “My Documents” on a PC and “Documents” in the Users folder on Macintosh OSX.
Backup the whole folder if you have the space.
You need to keep a copy of your backups in another location, your office at work for example.
Do this on a monthly or weekly basis.
Test Your Backups!
I don't care about backups; I do care that I can recover!
You should check that you can recover data from your backups.
Test every few months to ensure that the backup is actually working.
Recover the test backup to a empty folder on your system.
Comprehensive Backup Plan
This is what I do...
1. A nightly automatic full system image backup to a large external hard drive (Seagate of course)
2. A weekly full system backup to a large external hard drive that I keep at work (Seagate!)
3. Every few months and archival of images and documents to DVDs - I burn two copies and leave one set at work
What Software Should I Use?
You don't need anything special. You can just copy your files.
I use Acronis True Image. http://www.acronis.com.au/
There is a Backup utility that comes with Windows which is ok.
Norton and other free products can also do the job.