You may blow off this advice, but anyone who's been a victim of a computer failure should heed my advice..
BACK IT UP!
If you bought a computer with a preinstalled OEM (original equipment manufacturer) software, they urge you to create a reinstall backup disk. This will only take you back to the day you bought your computer. It will not re-create everything you worked on since. That includes both your files and settings.
As someone who's been there (several times) I can tell you how miserable restoration can be. I've spent up to 40 hours getting my stuff all back.
Here's What I recommend.
I've bought a second 931GB internal hard drive for around eighty buck$. I also bought a Maxtor external hard drive and yet one more Seagate 465GB external hard drive.
Once a month I use the second internal hard drive to make an "image" of my entire C drive. This feature is available in Windows 7, 8 and 10. It allows you to make an exact replication of everything you have. In the event your computer crashes, it's just a matter of a few steps and your back in business.
In between I do a 3x's weekly backup to that Maxtor USB connected external drive. I use FREE software to back up my files to the Maxtor.
Once a month I use that same software to back up many more files to the external Seagate 465 GB drive.
In addition I use a FREE version of Winzip to compress my most important files with password protection. I attach them in eMail to myself. And save them in my Hotmail account. This would be just in case someone would swipe all my equipment, I still have a means online to recover my stuff.
Fortunately for me I saved copies of the older version of WinZip when it was free. NOW THEY CHARGE for the software.
Now you don't have to do everything I do, but here's a basic recommendation.
(1) Purchase a second internal HDD or use a external HDD
(2) Use Win7, 8 or 10 to make a "system image backup" of your C: drive
PS: I also used Symantec's Norton Virus software which encrypts and stores all my passwords so I never have to remember my logins. Just click on the site and Norton fills it all in. It too is also password protected.
Updated Repost From January 27, 2013
NOTE: Though the video describes Windows 7 systems --the same procedure still applies to the Windows 8 & 10 systems in use today.