If you have a computer for home use or for your business and don't take comprehensive backup for full protection then you are in the danger-zone. Maybe you do not take any backup at all.
You can find in Windows a basic backup utility which are installed during the installation. I should say for all Windows,but in fact it is not included during the installation of Windows XP Home Edition. It is as if Microsoft thinks that data protection is not necessary for home computers and computers used by small businesses.
It is true that hard drives are becoming less prone to hard disk crashes. But, if you consider not only hard disk crashes, but also virus infection, theft plus other treats, then you realize the importance of implementing a full-proof backup strategy for your computer.
Today many computers are equipped with a DVD burner, yet most do not use it to manage their vital data backup. The amount of data you can store on a single DVD is several Giga Byte. There are many types of backup you can make.
Here are the steps that I take myself to fully secure my data against data loss:
Disk image backup. I use a disk image backup software and make a complete image backup of the disk on consecutive DVDs. I also create an emergency rescue CD.
If I have a hard disk crash I'll use this emergency CD to boot from. But, first I have to install and setup a new hard disk that is working. Then I can recreate the data directly back from this backup stored on the DVDs. This work is made fast and without the need to spend time installing both the operation system and the backup software. Everything is instead copied directly into the hard disk from the DVD's.
Full hard disk backup. I also use a data backup software and create a full backup of the hard disk on consecutive DVD's. This is a standard disk backup. With this backup I'm able to restore any files and/or folders. I can also move the data to another computer.
Regular scheduled backup of files and folder. Here I use the same software product I use for the full disk backup. I make with this software regular schedule backups of the files and folders I work with. In my case they include My Documents, Outlook emails and other files that are modified over time. I do this by keeping a permanent rewritable DVD inside the DVD burner. I then rotate a number of DVD's for this purpose so I can keep copies away from the computer.
Whenever I install important new programs from the Internet or I make other major changes to my system I'll also create a new disk image backup and a full hard disk backup.
You should use a DVD burner that is built for rewritable DVDs. Unfortunately there are several competing DVD standards on the market. The DVD-R, DVD-R and DVD-RAM standards supports DVDs which only can be written to once and can't be reused and those standards should be avoided. The DVD player should instead support at least one rewritable DVDs standard. Either DVD-RW or DVD+RW.
Conclusion: I use regular schedule backup to backup the data files I work with on a daily basis. I'll make a disk image backup so that in case of a hard disk failure I will be back in business fast. I also create a full disk backup so that I will be able to restore individual files or folders. It makes it also possible to move the data to another computer.