Last Sunday, my 320GB hard drive in a USB enclosure crashed. The hard drive makes clicking noise and is not recognized any more. I think the hard disk crashed due to overheat. I am very disappointed. To my relief, there was no critical data lost.
This incident made me realize the importance of backing up data. Here I give my tips on backing up data.
Since my hard drive crashed, I don't recommend hard drives as backup media. Hard drives are vulnerable to heat, magnetic force, and electric surge. I recommend Compact Discs, DVD±R, DVD-RAM or flash drives.
If you have a powerful CPU, spare time and huge storage, it may make sense to back up the whole thing including the operating system, applications and all the data. This typically involves backing up the whole hard drive or a hark disk partition.
There are many commercial software that are designed for this kind of task. Popular ones are Norton Ghost and Acronis True Image. There's free one, too. I recommend Clonezilla for free disk imaging solution.
The simplest way to back up your data online is saving it in your email server. Some webmail services such as Yahoo! mail provide unlimited email storage. With Zimbra Desktop, you can save your documents or pictures directly in your mail server.
Otherwise, there are many online services that provide backup solutions. I recommend the online service Carbonite.