There can be nothing more devastating than a loss of your data. Whether it be from equipment failure, theft, natural disaster or any other number of reasons. This is exactly why everyone should back up their data, but knowing how is half of this battle.
There are numerous options for PC owners, but almost all of them rely on you being diligent in making them. Most people know how to burn files to a CD-ROM, but will you do it often enough? CDs and DVDs also can suffer from “disc rot” where little holes will form in the recording layer, making the disk unreadable. You can certainly use the format, but it isn’t always the best solution.
You also can use external hard drives or a Network Additional Storage (NAS) to back-up to, but these also require you to remember to do it on a regular basis. There is software you can purchase to do it for you automatically, but then you also face possible hardware failure, and if you have a fire, you still lose everything.
Carbonite is fairly simple in that you download their manager, mark which files you want to back-up to their servers, and any time you make a change to them, the system will automatically upload the new copy to their site. Backblaze is brand new, it isn’t even open to the public yet, and takes the approach of backing up every file on your computer except for the files associated with your operating system. There is zero thought process needed to using Backblaze, it just assumes it should do everything, and does so.
There are other services such as SugarSync and Mozy, but we have only personally used the two I mentioned before. every service has their pros and cons, and you should research which one best suits your needs, but I do highly recommend everyone go with off-site back-ups. These services do cost (generally around $5 a month), but when your computer crashes, it is worth it just for the peace of mind. When my work computer recently crashed, I did not feel the usual dismay and panic that accompanied that in the past because I knew all my vital files were safely stored at Carbonite. That feeling was worth every penny I have paid them.