Go do a backup of all your important data.
I mean it. Go do it now. Don't even finish reading this journal entry. You may think you have more important things to do, but will you feel that way if your hard drive suddenly dies ten minutes from now?Do you have any data that you haven't backed up that you'll regret losing? If so, go back it up. I'll wait.
(This wasn't brought on by anything specific; just been hearing about a lot of cases of sudden disk failure and data loss lately.)
You may be thinking to yourself: "But I don't have a good backup system, and it'll take too long to develop one." Developing a good backup strategy is a great idea, but if you don't have one yet, then don't wait until you get around to developing one. There are lots of things you can do in the short term.
If you have a CD burner and some blank CDs, then burn a CD with your important files on it. Heck, burn two; keep one someplace safe, and mail one to an out-of-state friend and ask them to keep it safe. If you know me well enough to know my papermail address, then you can mail one to me and I'll promise not to look at it.
If you have a website with extra space in the account, you can back up some of your most important files to space on the webserver, though there may be potential security issues there. (Remember to back up your website, too, if your host doesn't do that!)
If you have a Mac, you can get a .Mac account (I think that's the right URL; I can't test it properly due to cookies and stuff) for $100/year, or about $8 a month; that'll let you back up to their system (up to 1GB of data). Seems pricy to me, but if you don't have any other backup system, it's probably worth it just for that.
If you have a few particularly important files, you can get yourself a gmail account and mail them to yourself there.
If you have an external hard drive, just copying your files to it is good enough for most situations.
If nothing else, even making a single copy of your files on your local drive may be a good idea. (But that can lead to more trouble than it saves, if you're not really careful--you might end up editing multiple copies of the file and so on.)
Anyway. The point is: if you have data that's important to you, make sure that there's more than one copy of it.
And don't put it off. Go do it.
This message brought to you by the National Backup Council, in association with the Organization of Storage-Device-Producing Companies.