For god's sake, backup.
It seems that not a week goes by without someone on my friends list on LJ, or a mailing list I'm on, cries out in grief and rage when their hard drive dies and loses priceless photos/manuscripts/dissertation.
The HD dying should surprise no one. Machines are mortal. Hard drives are machines. Therefore...
Backing up is not difficult. You can get another HD and back up to it. You can backup to data CDs or DVDs if you have a burner; Ghost and (I think) Nero will do this for you. You can backup to a flash USB drive. You can use WinZip to automatically zip up files and send them to your email program, which will send them to Gmail. (Need an invite? I've got 50. Email me). If you do that, even if the house burns down you'll have backups.
Me, I back up to a local hard drive, and zip up the writing folder and send it to my Yahoo account (I use Yahoo as a POP3 provider; my paid account is 2 gigs).
Believe me, the (minimal) pain of backing up every day will be more than repaid when that HD dies.
== okashi == (noun) confection, sweets, candy
|The bottom radical is 'fruit' (果); the top radical, 'grass/plant' was apparently added to create a new, more specific character after the original character's meaning began to drift. Henshall suggests taking the bottom radical as 'tree' (木) and 'field' (田), and as a mnemonic: 'Tree planted in field produces fruit for cake.'|