Just now, not twenty minutes ago, I said it to myself again, only this time I meant saving my progress on a new Web Site I've been working on. Something I've since Saved and set aside for the night in the interests of writing this blog piece. Because, as it turns out, now; some 30 years later, it's still some really good advice.
If your Data is important to you, save it. Early and Often. Now days we're not using 5.25" floppys, we have palm-sized multi-terabyte external hard drives, we have Cloud-Storage, and we have compact 4, 8, 16, 32, and 64 gigabyte Flash Drives the size of our thumbs. There's no good reason to lose your data in this day and age.
When a hard drive fails it is pretty much done. The data might very well still be there, but the moving parts, and electrical connections that cooperate to read that data are done moving, and done talking to each other. There are company's out there that will gladly charge you $800-$3000 to get some to most of it back, but for most people that's a pretty prohibitive price, and I've seen more than a few people absolutely in tears over hearing that news, either at the thought of never seeing those Family Photos again, or realizing that they're gonna be pushing back that long anticipated vacation because they HAVE to pay to get that data back. Tough choice.
I know that more and more programs have a built-in auto-save feature these days, but not everything does. We also tend to get spoiled by all the behind the scenes back-up and such going on at our jobs that we just don't think about how when data is gone because of device failure, it's usually GONE. That's why I'm still saying to myself to this day, "Save early, Save often." Backing up your files is an absolute necessity. Back-up your computers hard drive to an external once a month to be safe, and back-up running projects (things that change 100 times in a month) to a small thumb drive, or to something like Google Drive (I actually wrote a piece about this recently 'Google Drive, Worth it? Better believe it!'), or Microsoft's Sky Drive in between the system back-ups. You'll be protecting your data, your time, and your memories.
I would like to give a shout-out to Fat Guy, Bald Guy for being the most affordable Data Recovery service I've found to date. But be warned before clicking, they haven't read my piece, 'Why Music isn't used in Professional Web Design'.