I am told that statistics gathered by Apple computer are that 26% of computer users say they back up regularly, but only 4% actually do what they say they do. (This is a word of mouth report, so I don't promise that the figures are entirely accurate, but they sound as if they reflect reality).
I learnt the hard way about backups when my hard disk died a year or two back, and I found my last full backup wasn't as up-to-date as I would have liked. In fact, it was a year old! Of course, the problem with backups is that storage media tend not to keep up with the size of hard disks. That particular computer had a floppy disk drive and could read but not write CDs. The backup was done by way of our family network, onto another computer. It required arrangements to be made with my husband, when he was around at the same time as I remembered, which tended not to happen.
When I bought my new computer Apple was between models, so there wasn't much choice in the shop. I was pretty pleased with my new computer which reads and writes CDs, and reads DVDs but doesn't write them. I didn't think I needed to write DVDs. That was before I found out how quickly my photos fill up the space of a CD. I backup all my documents onto CD, but it would take a lot of CDs to backup all my photos.
So, P. bought me a spare hard drive. It is set up so that I can easily copy the entire contents of my hard drive. Wonderful! Hopefully I will never have two hard drives die at once. And I don't keep it on all the time, so that if there is a power surge, it won't fry both hard disks.
Now I am looking forward to Apple's new operating system - Leopard. Apparently as soon as you turn on an extra hard drive, it will ask "Do you want to use this for backup?", and it will then automatically back up everything, once a day, to the second hard drive.
Of course there is always the possibility of the house burning down. I really should take the spare hard drive, plug it into P's computer (which does burn DVDs), make a copy of everything and store it somewhere out of the house. One day I will get round to it.
Do you back up regularly? What would you most miss if your hard drive died?