I use to recommend using external hard drives to people when it came to the subject of backing up their data, but over time I noticed that most people do not care to keep up with the maintenance of doing the backup process. I tried using the free windows backup program built into Windows but it is very faulty and if the person changes their password it stops working, or sometimes it just doesn’t work at all (especially with XP and older computers)
So as a much better alternative I now suggest to use Carbonite. It is an online backup solution that lets you install a simple quick program to your computer that runs 24/7. It has such a small footprint that you will forget that it is ever running. It monitors every file you tell it to monitor and it will backup the file in real time. It costs $60/year and has NO backup limit for residential clients.
Your backup worries will be over with this. When your computer crashes and burns you get 60 days to replace the computer and re-download all your data back where it came from. I have used this program to restore several computers.