Short bio: Computer Scientist, FOSS supporter (read more)
Tux Machines (TM)-specific
Storage is becoming cheaper and cheaper: you can find hard drives that cost less than a dollar per GiB. Buying an external hard drive to make backups (or even having a backup server) is a must if you value your work and what you have stored in your computer. However, doing backups should be easy enough to be done on a regular basis. The more automated, the better.
So, I find no excuse not to do regular backups and looked for a tool easy-to-use but powerful. rdiff-backup is a python script that helps doing local and remote incremental backups. To backup your $HOME to an external hard drive mounted in /media/backup simply do:
$ rdiff-backup $HOME /media/backup/home_backup
If after some days you want to backup your new files, run the same command to update the backup.
Now, in /media/backup/home_backup you have an exact copy of your home as it was when you did the last backup. If you want to restore a directory, you can just copy it: