Started off last week with just a general slowness, then problems keeping it up, then eventually couldn't even get it up. Pushed the right button, long wait, then finally a BIOS error - unable to read boot device. Laptop drive had died.
PC is only a year and a half old, it's a little soon for that problem, but luckily I'd bought an extended warranty through my company. Good news was that within a day I had a new drive. Bad news was that it's an empty drive, no Windows, no nothing. I do back up occasionally, luckily I was able to keep the system running long enough to get a copy of my Outlook email and contacts, various documents, and my digital pictures. Couldn't find my three recovery CD's (don't remember even getting them) but can order replacements from Toshiba. Then it's just a long tedious process of reloading everything. In the meantime I have a backup PC - much slower, on Win 98. Can't load my Outlook backup, because this system only had Outlook Express, my Office 2003 won't load here. Sigh.
My new plan is to have a real backup plan. Do you have one? What if your system were to die? For me, Outlook does an archive of the personal folder to a file, which can just drag-drop to a CD-R. I use Adobe Photoshop Elements which can archive to a CD-RW and then just add pics to the archive file as they are loaded into the PC from the camera. Documents, as required. Contacts and such are HotSync'd to a Palm Pilot. If I has business applications here, I'd even go to the next step of another set of CD's kept offsite.