Thankfully, it doesn't have to be an expensive proposition. Grab yourself a cheap USB hard drive, then pick any of these free backup utilities:
- Comodo Time Machine CTM works much like Windows' own System Restore feature, except that it does more than just protect your Registry and system files: it backs up files, folders, and programs as well. Choose this if you've ever needed to "roll back" your PC to an earlier point in time -- and recover that Word document you accidentally erased.
- Easeus Todo Backup Arguably the most full-featured of any freebie backup program, ETB (pictured) covers just about any backup need. It can archive your entire system or just selected partitions, folders, and/or files. I especially like the Disk Cloning feature, which is helpful for moving everything to a new hard drive (should the need arise). You can also use ETB to create bootable CD-ROMs for system recovery.
- Macrium Reflect This is an impressive program for a freebie, with handy features like scheduling, rescue-CD creation, and even network support. If you need help getting started (it can be a little confusing in places), here's a step-by-step tutorial.
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