Lately I've had a couple of my friends ask me if it's difficult to upgrade a hard drive on a PC, or Mac, oh wait not Mac, my friends aren't that cool, but I let them know it's not difficult at all. The only pain in the ass part about it is reinstalling you're operating system...and all the programs you've installed since you first acquired your machine. I'm the kind of guy who doesn't mind that so much as I prefer a fresh clean installation of Windows every so often as opposed to the same sluggish beast I've had to tolerate for the past couple of weeks, months even years. However I put all of my user created data onto external hard drives along with back ups of that data, so it's a bit easier for me. Alot of people I know leave all there pictures, music and documents on their main drive with no back up whatsoever. I cannot stress enough how important back ups are and most people won't learn until it happens to them. Hard drive + careless face = Sad face. Yeah it's not cool in the least unless you have the skills to use the remains for something kickass like what's pictured on the right.
Acronis is offering their data recovery slash back up software True Image for free. What this software does is allow you to make a direct copy, or image if you will, of your hard drive so that when, yes when not if, your hard drive fails you'll have an exact bootable copy of it handy. That 320GB hard won't do you any good if all the data on it is lost. With prices dropping dramatically on hard drives I find it hard to believe people can't keep back ups of their data. How would you feel if you went to the bank to take out you're $2000 savings only to have the bank say "You know we don't have any records of you having the funds, see our hard drive failed and we don't have any back ups, so sorry, oh but here's a pen".
There are plenty of free apps out there and Lifehacker has a pretty slick tutorial using DriveImage XML, which is free, but I can't see this previously $50 version of True Image being any less useful. Don't say I didn't warn you.