BACK UP YOUR DATA. Hard drives hardly ever fail these days. So it will never happen to you, right? Please don't wait until you have had this heartbreaking experience before you start backing up your data (pictures, documents, video, recordings....). Please learn from the grief of others and back up regularly.
Decide what you will use as the backup medium. You could store the backup on the same medium you store your main archive, your DFT, or you could back up to something different. Cost isn't such an issue these days; backups don't have to be stored on something cheaper like they did in the past.
It is possible to set up your own backups, or to use Windows Backup, but they need a bit of technical skill. Even the most geeky of us make mistakes, and backups is not the place to be making mistakes. So get a backup software package.
it needs to be able to:
Do a daily or weekly backup depending on how busy you are with your Digital Family Trunk.
Regularly move a backup offsite for safety.
Every now and then, say once a year, try restoring a backup. Get an empty hard drive and try to restore one picture to it. Then try to restore everything. Don't delete your main data for this test, find another empty drive to test on (otherwise what if it DOESN'T work???). "Where will I get one of those from every year?". I bet you that about once a year you will buy a new PC or buy some additional disk storage or someone you know will. before it gets used, test on it. Then delete the restored test data.
There are some alternatives to making your own backups:
1) set up a server out in the garage or shed and replicate all your data (have a second 'mirror' copy of it)
2) keep all your data on a hosted server. This means you pay to rent a machine far away and you work on everything via the internet. Basically you have your own website. It is a bit complicated but it is not that expensive, and you pay them to do all the backing up (make sure they do: some of the cheapest deals don't include backups). it also means wherever you are in the world you can work on your DFT.
3) companies will even provide backup service across the web for you for a fee