Backup your Hard Drives
It is important to backup your hard drive so you can restore your system later.
In today's world of viruses, worms and system crashes, it is important to backup your hard drive on a regular basis. It is frustrating and even maddening to lose everything you have been working on for months or years to a deadly computer virus or unsuspected power outage.
It is good to do full backup regularly. Some choose to do a full backup once a month--some more often. The best way to do this considering today's huge operating systems and application programs is by burning your data to a CD. There are many good CD burning apps on the market today and CDs are dirt cheap. If you do not have a CD Recordable drive yet, here is a great place to find super bargains on name brand Multimedia Drives from a most respected retailer.
Or, you may choose to put another hard drive in your system and copy all your important work to it. I find this is the easiest for me and I mainly work off my backup hard drive and then burn its contents to a CD about every two weeks.
If you are using Windows XP, you may want to explore the Restore Point function it offers. Before I install a new program, especially something I have downloaded or gotten from a friend, I always create a new restore point with a time and date. This way if the program messes up my computer system, I can always get right back to where I was before I installed the program on my hard drive. This has saved me numerous times.
And, don't forget those old floppy drives you have laying around. I sometimes will copy a word doc or spreadsheet to a floppy drive and store it because it is usually less than a one meg file and I can easily move it from place to place as well as store it indefinitely.
Overall, I think having a second hard drive installed on your system is the best way to go for backups and then burning a CD from it periodically. And, now that hard drives are so cheap and easy to install, it only takes a few bucks and a few minutes to be safe.