What type of user are you?
A user who has lost all the data on your computer or
A user who is about to
Yes, those are the only choices. All the documents, photos, songs, videos, etc stored on your computer are stored on your hard drive. A hard drive is a fancy floppy disk that holds more info. Remember floppy disks? Remember what used to happen to them? They stop working. Hard drives like all good hardware will stop working eventually.
How can you protect yourself?
Get a second place to store data. The easiest solution for me has been a removable hard drive. I have been using Iomega USB 2.0/Firewire drive. They are reasonably priced and reliable. I have an 80gb drive. That covers all the files on my desktop computer and all the photos, music and documents on my laptop. Just plug it in, it shows up, and drag any files you care about there.
Now your data is in two places. If one goes bad, there is always a backup. Now go out there and backup, backup, backup!
disclaimer: I have no ties to Iomega. In fact, Maxtor makes a great product too.