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Backing Up

To avoid losing all your hard work in a random hard-drive crash, it's important to make copies of all your important files. In computing, these are generally known as "backups."

A favorite saying goes: "There are those computer users who back up their work, and those who will." In other words, everyone will eventually run into computer glitch that compromises their data, so it's better to be safe than sorry.

So we absolutely recommend you make backup copies of all your work, from early drafts to finished files. In its simplest form, this can involve regularly burning copies of your latest files onto CDs or DVDs or to an external hard drive. The price of storage has fallen so fast that you can now purchase a 1TB external hard drive for as little as $100.

On a larger scale, various companies offer programs and equipment that can make backing up simple and automatic.

Another option is to copy your files to "the cloud." This refers to online data storage services. Here is a list of 10 top services for 2013.

You can also use the cloud for free backups. Simply upload all your photos to a photo-sharing site like Flickr and upload your documents to an online document system like Google Docs.

The best strategy is to choose more than one of these options, so your back-up data is also backed up.