What will you do when your hard disk fails?

Note: “when”, not “if”. This morning’s Observer column. Excerpt:

Until recently, hard drive failure was a catastrophe only for really heavy users of computing, or for those running network servers – which is why both those categories of user have always been paranoid about backing up their data. But most ordinary users didn’t keep that much stuff, and in general much of what they did keep consisted of documents that could easily be backed up onto removable disks or filed in paper form.

But about three years ago, millions of such ‘ordinary’ users began buying digital still- and video-cameras and MP3 players. And all of a sudden, their hard drives began filling up with images, movies and music that really mattered to their owners because they documented their lives.