Backing up all your important data on a regular basis should be a part of any computer user's preventive maintenance routine. Computer data backups protect user data, the one element of a computer system that can't be replaced with a new part. Backups protect data from malware infections and make the system recovery process less painful. According to PCWorld, it's a best practice to keep an original, backup and copy of the backup of your data.

Protecting Against Hardware Failure and Loss

Turning on the computer and getting a "hard drive not found" error can be an awful experience. Hard drive crashes, power surges, natural disasters and device theft can unexpectedly wipe out all your saved data. While the system might be destroyed, any data backed up in a separate location is safe and can be restored to a replacement hard drive.

The Pain-Free Nuclear Option

If you keep regular backups of your data, clearing all data and reinstalling the operating system becomes a relatively painless process. Windows has built-in system refresh and restore options that can return a non-functioning system back to a usable state. However, some malware and system file damage can evade the refresh and restore processes, making the "nuclear option" of resetting the system the only viable fix. Additionally, malware can sometimes be so difficult to remove that it may actually take less time to just reset the system.