1) Download Belarc Advisor – This tool generates a list of ALL software you have installed including your license numbers. So when it’s time to set up your new harddrive, you have a handy dandy printout of all the information you need. Having a crashed hard drive has never been so pleasant!
Thanks for the tip LifeHacker!
2) Unencrypt any files and folders you may have encrypted – I’m on Windows XP and had cleverly protected my information by encrypting lots of stuff (using Tools / Folder Options). I’m so clever I can’t get to a lot of the files. So unencrypt before you do your final backup from your poor dying drive.
3) Email important files to yourself to a webmail account – In addition to a backup drive I try to keep important files on a “remote server” which is when unlimited storage in webmail accounts comes in very handy. Do yourself a favor and don’t delete emails with attachments such as your resume or photos. You may be happy they’re there in your Sent mail one day!