- Get your operating system on CD and create those recovery disks
- Do a backup
- Run your disk defragmenter
- Remember these three words: uninterruptible power supply
- Don’t cold reboot
- Watch the environment
- Take care of your peripherals
Certainly agree with all of these items.
We had to reinstall the OS on one of our machines at home, and finding the original OEM operating system CDs was relatively easy. If you have multiple PCs in your household, write on the CDs which PC they are paired, as many are specific not only to an OEM brand but model.
As for back ups, if you don't archive with a utility (like OneCare) then do a drag copy of your important folders from "My Documents" on to a recordable CD or DVD, or an external hard disk: the prices of external USB 2.0 drives is cheap enough for everyone to have a back up drive. At a minimum, shoot for backing up once a month.
If you live where the power is subject to weather impacts (we have trees that bring down the lines a couple of times in the winter) then an uninterruptible power supply is a must. Although we have laptops in the house, we also have a whole house surge supressor that installs on the mains into the home. And use fused and filtered power bars for your equipment, a standard feature on many uninterruptible power supplies.