My old Toshiba Satellite just died. Had that computer for 3-4 years and it's been around the world with me through Europe, the Middle East, Asia, North America, and the Caribbean. Something like 20-30 countries. I had a lot of nice memories with that computer, and it survived an absolute beating before finally kicking the bucket. The casing is cracked in all sorts of places, the screen has been battered and is spotty in a couple places, the CD drive doesn't quite work correctly, the battery only has a few minutes of charge, and I had to replace the power cord for it twice. But it kept going, and I did some great work on that computer.
But, today it is no more. It wouldn't boot up. I had a Windows installation disk with me, and it won't install either. I spent a few hours trying to do some sort of repair, but it ain't happening. So long, Satellite. Thanks for the memories.
But enough with the nostalgia. On a prgmatic note, when's the last time you backed up your computer? I back up my computer once every week or two, but only now am I realizing a few things I lost. There's a couple living documents I had that I haven't backed up in two months, so I lost the last few brainstorms I had. Also, I had just transfered a bunch of pictures and then cleared the space off my iPhone, so those pictures are lost to the ether forever. Nothing too amazing, but I did lose a few decent pictures of Vietnam.
All sorts of media and then my general settings - that's a big one I didn't think about. In January before I left the States, I did a full backup of my computer and then I wrote down all the programs and settings and extensions I had on my computer. Then I installed a clean version of Windows and went and re-installed/re-configured everything. My configurations have evolved since then, and I don't have them down. I'll put it back together quickly enough when I get a new computer, but it would've saved me time if I'd made a document of that.
So yeah - friendly reminder from Sebastian: Back up your computer. When's the last time you did it? Is there a mix of online and offline backups? That is, would you still have your most key stuff if, heaven forbid, your apartment caught on fire? You can email the most critical documents and pictures to yourself which is the bare minimum lazy man's backup you should do. External hard drives are cheap, go grab one and put all your media on there if that's important to you and you're settled into one location. Also consider scanning and uploading non-digital files that are really important to you - letters and pictures especially. It'd be a shame to lose those.
This doesn't have to be a major project - just get started on it. I was reasonably well prepared for my computer to die, and it's still kind of a hassle. If you're not prepared at all, it'd be a world of pain for you. Get prepared - when's the last time you made a backup of your important stuff? Would now be a good time to do so?