Most of us have had a digital camera now for a few years, and have downloaded all the pictures we've take to the computer for viewing, and we believe that they're stored on the computer safely.
But don't be fooled, one of the most common things to fail in a computer is the hard drive!.
While its often possible to recover some or even all the data, that can be an expensive exercise.
External hard drives are useful as backups, but are as fallible as internal hard drives. In fact they are probably more likely to fail given how often they get dropped and passed around.
The best way to ensure that your memorable photos are safe is to make a copy of them onto a CD/DVD/Blu-ray disc and keep that safely filed away.
Make a second copy and give that to a relative or friend who lives nearby as well, in case of robbery or fire.
While you're doing it, if you have some extra space, put all your documents on the same disc, or burn another for them as well.
Keep these backups away from sunlight and make a new copy every few years and discard the old one. CD/DVD/Blu-ray discs will not last forever.
By following these couple of simple steps, you can be sure that even if your computer does develop a problem, the important things on it are backed up and safe.