Ever lost a document, had a system malfunction because of a new driver or software installation or had a virus impact your files? I'm pretty sure I know the answer to this question.
To avoid such situations consider using the volume shadow copy feature. The feature is on by default in Windows 7 and easily added to Vista.
The feature allows you to launch System Restore and roll back to a working system state from before the installation. If you can't get your system to boot, you can also do this from the Windows Setup DVD. This process is reversible, i.e. your current state will be automatically saved as a restore point, to which you can later go back.
In another situation, if you accidentally delete 10 pages of your dissertation, you can right-click the document, choose Restore previous versions, and access a previous version of it. You can open it (in read-only mode) or copy it to a new location.
If you accidentally delete a file or folder, you can right-click the containing folder, choose Restore previous versions, and open the folder as it appeared at the time a shadow copy was made (see screenshot below). All the files and folders that you deleted will be there.
I made sure I had the feature turned on based on past painful experiences. Something to consider…