Yes, all computer people will tell you this. And all people computer-savvy enough to write and read blogs know it. It goes in the same category as “test your fire alarms every quarter.” We know we oughtta–but we don’t, do we?
I discovered when attempting to load a file to send off to a comrade (it’s coming, Anastasia ;-)) that my venerable (in tech terms, at least) flash drive has bit the big one. It was where I kept all of my dissertation data to avoid it being spread across six or seven different computers. It served well, but, alas, is no more.
Fortunately, I had everything saved somewhere else and had backed it up not too awfully long ago. I only had to reconstruct one file–it was a serious pain in the but because it consisted of about seven other files written in non-sequential order but I had a print out of relatively recent vintage to guide me.
In short–this could have *really* sucked, but it didn’t. So please: back up your data!