8210 guy has a good idea for someone using a computer that is either a newbie or not up to all this tech stuff.
dlsjr and tom and others correctly point out the problem of just storing your data on another partition of the main hard drive [there are plenty of free or low cost utilities to create new partitions] or even on a external hard drive.
and bob had a great idea for remote backup.
pull them all together, step by step to reduce headaches and worries.
1. purchase a 500GB or even 1TB external hard drive [$75-150] - let's call this EXTERNAL-A.
2. move all My Doc, My Videos, My Music so they are stored on the hard drive.
3. start storing all user created documents, videos, files, spreadsheets, PDF, downloads, etc. on the external drive.
4. purchase another 500GB or even 1TB external hard drive [$75-150] - let's call this EXTERNAL-B.
5. use a backup utility, file replicator, or folder synchronizer to "backup" the contents of EXTERNAL-A to EXTERNAL-B and optionally to a new folder on the main hard drive.
i have done all the above and essentially have three copies of my data - one each on EXT-A, EXT-B, and main hard drive..
when i go on vacation, i take EXTERNAL-B with me and put EXTERNAL-A in a fireproof safe in my house.
risk - there's a fire in my house or someone steals my computer and external hard drives. result = lots of weeping in my home over lost data.
to reduce that risk,
6. signup for a remote backup system, like bob suggested.
only risk there is that that company goes out of business and all your data is tossed.
for the file replicator, i use Karen's Replicator http://www.karenware...treplicator.asp (free, tho last update was in Nov 2009). very easy to use.
for the folder synchronizer, i use SyncBack Freeware V188.8.131.52 but the freebie version starts to nag you if you use it or copy more than some low threshold. i bought the SyncBackSE version for $30.
once i installed and setup the folders to synch, they work in the background so i rarely have to do a manual replicate/synch.
both do actual file copies and do not backup to a compressed or encrypted form. that's why i like them, cos i can take EXTERNAL-A or EXTERNAL-B with me, use the files, then sync when i get back home.