As I've preached before, I'm a big believer in diversified backups: a local hard drive for cloning your system, an online service that houses your data, your phone for preserving your contacts and calendar, and so on. But there's one piece of the puzzle that's often overlooked: drivers.
Semper Driver Backup does exactly what its name implies: saves and restores all system drivers. Why is this important? Because system manufacturers rarely supply drivers on disc anymore. That means if you ever need to wipe your hard drive and reinstall Windows, you might find yourself without a critical driver.
In fact, I've had it happen where I did a system wipe/reinstall, only to discover I didn't have the driver I needed for the machine's Wi-Fi adapter--meaning I couldn't connect to the Internet to download the other drivers I needed. (Ultimately, I had to hunt down an Ethernet cable and move the machine within range of my router--big hassle!)
Semper Driver Backup finds every single driver on your PC and copies it to a folder, which you can then offload to, say, an external hard drive, a flash drive, or even a service like Dropbox (though I definitely think you're better off keeping the drivers available locally; see my above example if you can't understand why).
This is, of course, just one of several utilities that will tackle this job (which, FYI, you don't need to do often; every 6-12 months is probably fine). Other popular options include Double Driver and DriverMax. Whatever tool you use, just do yourself a favor and use one. The hassle you prevent could be your own.
Contributing Editor Rick Broida writes about business and consumer technology. Ask for help with your PC hassles at firstname.lastname@example.org, or try the treasure trove of helpful folks in the PC World Community Forums.