Backup is in theory a very simple idea, data in multiple places is very hard to corrupt. In practise it is almost as simple, one does not need complex programs and utilities(these could help with making backups of an entire system for instant replacement but they are not needed for protecting personal files , documents, videos, images, music, zip archives, browser favourites,anything else you can find in a folder on your machine), or automated backup services but simply to copy the files that need protecting to another location. A usb is a good way to quickly backup files, and it is cheap. A cd-rw is also good for local backup. Other methods are to copy the files into storage on an online email account (gmail or equivalents) but not to install a "google drive for your pc" type program, or to give an encrypted usb or cd-rw backup to a relative or friend to look after (the further from you they live the better). The rule of thumb is "data copied to less than 3 separate places does not exist, but why chance it with that low a number. A usb harddrive may be more economical in £(or $) per megabyte but it is also more vulnerable, if it is a true hard-drive with a lever arm and spinning discs it is vulnerable to impacts and magnetic fields where a USB flash drive would be more survivable. I wrote a long article( rant?) on backing up extremely valuable data in the event of everything from mechanical failure to massive catastrophes here
http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/546738/question-about-external-hard-drives/ second post on the page. Just performing any one of those types f backup i discuss will leave your data orders of magnitude safer than the way it is know, sitting on one computer which could be damaged at any minute.
extra note: you should backup every file that yo have worked hard on, every file that took you more than a minute to find online, every file from the internet whose original source website might shut down, every file that cannot be replaced, every file you may need in future, every file you will need in future, every file you would not want to lose. This means every: word document, pdf, powerpoint,excel spreadsheet, txt file, publisher document, image, video, audio file, zip archive, installer for "mission critical" programs( if you kept the installer exe file from when you downloaded the program it is worth keeping, trying to backup an exe fie already in "c:\program files\ is pointless as those files are not installers), and you browser "favourites"/"bookmarks". Favourites and bookmarks are both stored in txt files hidden away under your browser's folder in c:\programfiles\ or c:\users\(your name)\appdata\ . Chrome's bookmark data can be backed up by copying the file
C:\Users\(your name)\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\bookmarks (that file has no extension but it opens fine using notepad.). to a usb stick or cd-rw.
Edited by rp88, 08 September 2014 - 02:02 PM.
Back on this site, for a while anyway, been so busy the last year.
My systems:2 laptops, intel i3 processors, windows 8.1 installed on the hard-drive and linux mint 17.3 MATE installed to USB