I seem to be living in a technology Bermuda Triangle. Two weeks ago my media centre PC died suddenly, and two days ago my primary desktop went belly up as well. The two machines exhibited the same weird symptoms before failing in the same exact way. Talk about bad luck.
Even the backup hard drive inside my desktop couldn't immediately help matters, as the machine itself was dead. Sure, I was able to switch over to my laptop and get back to work, but for the time being my data was trapped inside the defunct desktop.
At least, it would have been trapped, if not for my secret weapon: SugarSync. Like Dropbox and similar services, SugarSync provides me with "magic folders" that automatically sync to online servers. Thus, every Word document I save to one of those folders is quickly, quietly and securely copied to the cloud.
Likewise, because I have SugarSync on my laptop, that same data gets downloaded to folders there. So although I still have stuff I need to rescue from my desktop, my most important files are already available to me and not just on my laptop, but also on the web, my iPhone, etc. It's a beautiful thing.
I'm not saying SugarSync is the ideal solution for everyone (plans start at £3 per month for 30GB of storage, though you can get a 5GB account free of charge), but I definitely recommend using some kind of folder syncing service for easy and effective data redundancy. Because, take it from me, you never know when your PC is going to die a weird and unexpected death.