Can you afford to loose your data? Without data from a back up source, there is no way to recovery following some sort of incident such as hardware or system malfunction, human error (deleting a file by mistake) or a virus infection that results in loss of data.
At a minimum, consider backing up your documents. This is easier to do if you store all your documents in the "My Documents" folder. There are various types of media you can use for backing up your data. These included floppies, CDRWs, DVDs, Zip media, USB drives, and tape. Which medium you use depends on how much data you are trying to backup and the peripherals you have installed on your computer. Storage capacity of various media:
Zip Disks 100MB - 20GB
USB Drives 32MB - 1GB
Make regular backups of your data.
Make sure your backups work. Remember, if you back up garbage, you'll restore garbage.
Store backup media in a safe and secure place, preferably at a different location from your computer.
Store backup media in a data safe or in a place that is not susceptible to extremes of temperature, humidity, etc. CDRs are a good and cheap medium for data backup from a personal computer. Tape backup is good for both local restores, and off-site disaster recovery.
Consider the following types of backups. Full backup of your system - this usually includes your entire system and all its files. Incremental backups - only the files that have changed since the last full or incremental backup are backed up. Differential backups - only files that have changed since the last full backup are backed up. Differential backups are faster to restore from. To use this sort of scheme, you will need to have backup software installed on your computer.
Use a backup rotation scheme so you have backups from different dates available for recovery.
Make duplicate backup copies and rotate one off-site weekly.
Include every hard disk in your backup process, including mobile PCs.
Always use 'verify' to insure files have been correctly written to tape, try restoring a few