The horrible feeling when you find the blue screen of death, the hard drive that has totally crashed, the USB drive that no longer reads or maybe coming home to find the laptop gone..... let alone the flood, fires and other natural disasters that occur.
These things may still happen unfortunately but with regular back-ups the trauma of losing everything can be avoided.
The key is regular backups in multiple places.
Regular is most important. GeneaBloggers (which really is the ultimate site for Genealogy Bloggers!) started the mantra of backup on the 1st of the month and it is a great reminder.
It doesn't matter what day it is as long as it is a regular occurrence but the 1st is such a convenient day to remember.
The cloud is my first back-up place I use Dropbox where I have a 110GB account. This gives me the added advantage as I have access to those files wherever I have an Internet connection whether I want to access them using my iPhone, my iPad, a computer at work, at a friend's place or overseas.
I also have a Western Digital 4TB drive linked into my home network that is in a concealed location in my home (having had a friend who lost hers that was on her desk when they stole it as well as the laptop!) Any file that is changed is backed up to this drive.
I also do a monthly backup to another 4TB drive that is stored offsite. This is a rotational backup as there are two 4TB drives there and drive A comes home this month and then drive B comes home next month.
I am not going to give a detailed list of ways to do backups, and remember it is not just what is in your computer data files you need to backup as what about your blog, your photos on Flickr, your Tweets, emails online such as Gmail (as well as those on computer in Outlook or any of the other email programs) and anywhere else you have an online presence plus any item whose loss would cause you to lose precious research time. These would include Internet Favourites, program settings, and I am sure you can think of others.
The reason I am not giving that detailed list of resources is because Thomas MacEntee has already done it and it can be found here
So a little planning and setting up a system now will save those wishes for yesterday in the future.