Consolidate. Get all files onto one computer. Do an “all-out search” for anything you want to keep—check digital cameras, thumb drives, MP3 players, and any other devices in which information is stored.
Do a backup—often. Using appropriate software and an external hard drive, do a full software and data backup “at least once each month.” Save files that have changed since the last backup on a daily basis.
Test the system. Every so often, “pick one or two files” that have been backed up and restore them to be sure they copied correctly. Choose a system that can instantly verify that data was successfully stored.
Make copies. Make sure “any essential documents” have multiple backups. Keep at least one copy close at hand, but consider “storing some backups” at another location, or online, in case of an emergency.
Source: Family Circle