This is a classic situation of where an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. A very simple backup routine that is adhered to on a daily basis can usually solve any data loss situation quickly and fairly painlessly. And it won't cost you anything but the time neded to restore the data files from your backups, and maybe the program files from the original disks.
There is a wide choice of media that you can backup your files to, inclusing CDs, DVDs, external hard drives, other internal hard drives, tape drives, etc. They all work, it's just that each media choice has it's own pros and cons regarding ease of use, data storage capacity, and so on. A discussion of those limits is beyond the scope of this article, but the most important thing to remember is that the best backup is the one that works. That means that regardless of the media you choose, just make a choice and stick to a backup schedule like glue.
There are sevral good backup programs out there that work very well and will do a fine job, but most Microsoft Windows users have a great backup program included with their operating software. If you are a Windows XP user that program is called NTBackup. If it's not already installed on your computer insert your Windows CD, find the folder titled ValueAddMSFT tbackup, and run the program in that folder called ntbackup.msi. It will set up the backup software for use on your computer in no time and you will even have simple to use wizards that will walk you through doing file backups and restores simply and easily.
Once the software is installed, it is now up to you to use it faithfully to prepare for data recovery when it is needed. Maybe you never will need it. But don't count on that. You will be so glad that you have a solid reliable way to restore lost files if disaster ever happens on your computer. It's truly the easy way to data recovery!
John Simpson is a website that helps you find free information, tips, and resources for data recovery, undeleting files, and retrieving data from hard drives, CDs, DVDs, and other file storage media.