Rick Broida of PC World has an article on MSN Tech & Gadgets, Diversify Your Backups to Prepare for a Data Disaster...

If a natural disaster wipes out your hard drive, it will probably destroy your local backups, too. Here's a backup plan that will get you through even the worst-case scenario.

Method 1: The full-system backup, with external 300GB hard drives readily available for as little as $100 [and ] a drive-cloning utility

Method 2: The remote, data-only backup, with an online backup service ...

Method 3: The spare-PC backup - create a "backup network" that leverages everyone's hard drives? All you need is SyncToy 2.0, one of Microsoft's free PowerToy utilities. With it, you can create "folder pairs" between PCs, copying files between them with a single click.

...and several more

My favourite back up method right now is via simple and integrated USB smart drive like the Sandisk Cruzer, for quick and relatively inexpensive and pain-free back ups of basic files, settings and documents.  For larger content stores (like photos and videos) I back up on an external USB 2.0 drive (like the Western Digital My Book) and the HP MediaSmart Windows Home Server for music and disc images.  Plus, I also archive to DVD-RW (for files I intend to modify, such as video edits) and DVD-R.  My next step is to move some of the basic file backups into the cloud.

Now, go and back up your important documents, contacts, email and photographs of the kids.

More from MSN Tech & Gadgets...

Tags: Advice, utilities, Windows, Windows Vista.