It’s been a while since I harped on this, but you really should back up your important files. I just read a blog post from a man who’s hard drive crashed and lost years worth of family photos. Baby pictures, videos of first steps…all that stuff, gone. He and his wife are miserable, and currently saving up to spend lots of money to pay a professional technician to see what data can be recovered. He has to be thinking, “If only I’d made a backup!”

So, do you have an excuse? If you keep any important files on your computer, back them up. I mean it. Right now. If you don’t have an extra hard drive with lots of free space, go out right now and buy one. I prefer having an external backup drive for my desktop computer (for disasters where I might need to grab it and run like a house fire or alien invasion), and laptop users won’t have any other choice.

If you don’t feel like slapping down $100 right now, go grab a stack of blank DVD’s (or blank CD’s for you luddites) and take some time to backup the stuff you’d hate to lose. Especially when backing up to DVD/CD, I know a procrastination enabler is the fact that in a few days you might have all new files that will need to be backed up. Why not wait a little longer, right? But removable media is cheap, so do a full backup now no matter what photo sessions or MP3 downloading sprees you plan to attempt later in the week. Oh, and budget for an external hard drive now too!

If you’re all set for backing up to an extra hard drive, I recommend SyncBack for Windows (look for the free version on their download page) or SilverKeeper for OS X. Some versions of Windows and Mac OS have built in backup tools, but for Windows at least, the one I recommended above gives you much more control over what and how you’re backing up.

Next time your hard drive crashes (or there’s a house fire or alien invasion), you’ll thank me.

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