A few years ago, a 40-megabyte hard drive was considered a lot of storage room for a personal computer. Today, drives holding more than 300 megabytes are standard, and capacities of 1 billion bytes are far from rare. Not enough users, however, have thought about what happens when one of these monsters fails. Floppy-disk backups, the traditional insurance, aren't much of an answer. Backing up a 340-megabyte drive requires more than 200 high-density floppies at about a buck apiece-- and hours of your time.
A tape drive is a much better idea. One of the newest, the Iomega Tape250 ($199), will copy up to 250 megabytes of files onto a quarter-inch data cassette. Two $25 tapes will hold the full contents of all but the biggest disks. If you have the contents on tape, a hard-disk crash will still be a nuisance, but you'll be able to avert a catastrophe.