I've never been a fan of traditional backup software. It tends to store the backup in a proprietary format, which makes recovery difficult if things go wrong. Plus, most backup software is designed to help you back up your entire machine. I don't want to do that. I simply want to back up my important data folders (some of which, I should point out, contain copies of the installation CDs for my important apps).
To do my backups, I tend to just use a simple command-line tool like XCOPY to copy my data file tree from my hard disk to an external USB drive. If you like to do things in a similar way, but you want something more friendly than XCOPY, then here's a brilliant product. Back4Sure is a backup program for Windows which simply copies the files and directories you specify from one drive to another. It's a 2 MB download, it's free, it runs under Windows XP and above, and you can get it from http://www.ukrebs-software.de/
The optional zip compression component can, if you wish, compress the files as it copies them. Plus, you can save your backup job details and then just run it with a single click. And because it doesn't re-copy files that haven't been changed, all backups after the first one are really quick.
But my favourite thing about Back4Sure is that there's no complementary "restore" program that you need to install and test. There doesn't need to be. Because your backups are simply file copies, or zip files, your PC can restore the files with no extra software required. Just drag and drop them. Simple. Though remember, as with all backup programs, your backup should only be considered safe if it's kept off-site, so NEVER store your external USB backup drive alongside your PC.
Thanks to site user Quentin Christensen for this Hot Find.