Posted 21 August 2009 - 09:01 AM
Another possiblity is to buy one of the massive USB 2.0 external hdd's (1TB ones sell at about $90 on various online computer suppliers).
Use cloning software, such as Norton Ghost, or one of the free ones (best one will need to be researched) to create an image that can be used, if needed, to re-create your existing (as of the moment of the cloning) hdd setup and data on a new drive. But as stated, this will only work in the same computer that you were using at the time of cloning. Copy this "clone" file to the new USB HDD if the cloning software will not put it on the USB HDD directly.
From time to time, you can update the clone, but limit the number of clones you keep as they are really big files.
Then, using a bit of the remaining space, simply copy the files you don't want to lose onto the USB HDD also.
If you learn to use xxcopy, you can then easily update those files, either manually or by setting up a daily routine.
("One Touch" is a Maxtor software that allows you to set up the parameters (what you want to backup, where you want it, how often, etc) and then execute that with "one touch" of a button. But many backup softwares will do this as an automated process so that you don't have to remember to do it.)
One thing to keep in mind is that your risk of loss will be concentrated at the location of the computer and the USB HDD, so theft, fire, or lightning strike might undo all your efforts as above. So by all means copy those important files, photos, videos, etc to DUPLICATE CD-Rom, or better, DVD, and keep one complete set at Mom's, a brother or sister's house, in your safe deposit box, or another "off-site" location.
You may also be able to keep online copies for free or at a small cost, if the total size of the files is not too large, but then you are dependent on the continuing operation of the outfit supplying you the space. Be aware that these companies come and go.