No More Excuses
I have described above four solutions that if used in together should make it virtually impossible to lose data on your home PCs during the foreseeable future. While I do not claim that any one of these backup tools are the best in their class, they are all at the very least reliable and robust enough to solve your home backup needs—when used together.
I would not recommend relying only on any one of them to meet all of your backup needs. Like commercial enterprises with sound storage policies in place, your home data needs backups of its backup. You need to complement your on-site data protection with offsite backups in case disaster strikes, whether that might be a fire, flood, or anything else that can physically destroy your PC equipment and the backup media with it. Conversely, Internet services get interrupted, and after all, your data is in the hands of a third party, so you do want copies of your data stored locally as well.
I would also strongly recommend investing in the My Book Studio II or a similar device that offers an extra layer of redundancy with a RAID 1 setup and combine that with the Paragon Backup and Recovery software package. Backup software and hardware have come down so much in price that it is now possible to buy commercial-grade backup systems for less than $500.
While My Book Studio II’s software could theoretically serve your local backup needs by itself, using Paragon’s tools will let you get booted up on a PC in a matter of minutes with all of your applications and data in tact in the event of a disk failure. The alternative involves having to reinstall Windows or Linux on a new disk along with all of the drivers and then accessing your recovered data from an external drive, which can take hours. The Paragon tools also offer a long list of extras that the bundled My Book Studio II’s software does not offer.
Then there is the final fallback, when for whatever reason you have failed to make backups and you have to turn to a lab for data recovery. But as I describe above, data-recovery fees, while never cheap, are not always excessive, either.
So never give up hope. It is relatively cheap and easy now to ensure that your data never gets lost during your lifetime (although what will happen to your data in 100 years is another story).