Originally Posted by JJ
I had a state of the art Solid State Hard Drive go corrupt on me about 12 months ago. Only 6 weeks after buying it from new!
In the end all drives will break no matter how much you spend.
Back Up, Back Up and Back Up again. That's all you can do.
... and Test that you can recover with the backups.
Probably a legend but the story goes that an office in NY paid a guy to take backup tapes to a storage unit outside the city and gave fare for the cab ride. Guy took the subway and kept the difference. Placed the bag on the floor between his feet. Office server hard drives failed and they got the tapes back from the remote storage but all tapes were corrupt. Magnetic fields from the subway train's motors under the floor wiped them.
They never tested their backup+restore process.
There are lots of similar stories.
When in doubt print it out :-) seriously though. When it comes to a thesis, copy it to a couple of other computers (send an attachment to a Gmail account - they keep everything!). Quicker to pull a copy back from another computer than a backup. USB key drives are very cheap. Not at all reliable but you can have one for each day of the week (and lose just one day's work) - old method that worked with floppies.
But do check that your copies are good copies i.e. still open in Word or LaTeX :-)