This is a post I wish I never had to write.
I wanted to share because
First, go home and hug your hard drive. Thank it for keeping all your treasures safe and there when you need them.
-Back-up everything on a 2nd drive from time to time. Despite our misfortune, I still do believe that external drives are the way to go. But I was a fool to think it would last forever, even with our 'replacing every few years strategy'. (This last one lived less than a year.)
-If you're a photo person, upload every image you care about to a website like Picasa - it's my preference because the images can be downloaded in full quality if needed for prints, etc.
-I'm also going to start utilizing Google Docs more often, how convenient!
-If you have documents with no need for edit, consider burning them on discs for safekeeping.
I don't have all the answers, this is just a list of what we would have/will do differently going forward. If this has ever happened to you, let me say I'm so, so sorry. If you have any suggested methods of file safekeeping I would love to hear from you!