back up your back up.
thankfully i’ve learned this lesson through others and have never really lost an entire hard drive of photos. get an external hard drive, burn CD’s and store them at your mother’s house, use an online storage site like Flickr or Box.net.
Don’t use just one. Use them all. Back up your back up. Hard drives die, CDs get scratched, storage sites servers crash or go out of business. and while all of these things could happen you can be assured that they probably wont happen all at once.