by Robert J. Elisberg, WGA
Arguably the simplest, most important and least-used application for computers is backing up. Time was that this title went to anti-virus checking, but that now comes fairly automated and more people are covered than in the past. But with backing-up, people tend to live in a blissful Computerland that doesn’t actually exist – where no computer crashes and data is never lost. Well, computers crash and data is lost. It’s a Really Good Idea to Back Up. There are a lot of easy, basic backup programs out in the world. But here are some other, uncommon options for addressing the situation."Article in full
A reminder about Matt's suggestion three months ago which does seem both simple and effective:
"I have never been able to get the hang of proper backup software and procedures. I always end up getting into a complete pickle about the various full backups, interim backups and how the bloody hell I'd back everything up if my hard-drive became shot with the backup software on it. So these days I just have a complete clone of My Documents on a portable drive and use Microsoft's Synctoy to keep the files up to date."
However I would suggest backing up your entire Documents and Settings folder and not just the My Documents part of it as it which would include emails and favourites. This link has more details.
I asked Lee about the Mac equivalent:
"Things like emails, bookmarks, fonts, templates, RSS feeds, Applescripts - anything used by an application, but not created by it when you hit Save - are kept in your Home folder, in the Library. In Mac speak, that's ~/Library. Apple apps such as Mail, Safari, and iTunes may have their own folders. Non-Apple apps like NetNewsWire, Montage, Final Draft, Scrivener etc, will keep all their stuff in ~/Library/Application Support. The truly paranoid might want to back up their preference files as well. I know I do. These are in ~/Library/Prefences.
For safety's sake, back up the entire Library folder, it's probably only a few hundred megs."
Don't delay, do it today. It's Back Up Your Files Day, hooray!
How to decide what data to back up
Back up manually or use Windows XP Backup utility
How to choose an external storage format for backup files
Mac OS X: How to back up and restore your files