Backing up your files frequently is a good practice in the event of an astonishing hard disk failure. You may try and use hard disk application which I have just found to baseline and scan for errors on your hard disk so you can envision when it is going to fail in order for you to do your last backup. HD Tune is a tough disk use that has the following functions :

Baseline : measures the raw performance, Transfer Rate, Access Time, CPU Use, Burst Rate Hard Disk info which includes partition info, supported features, firmware version, serial number, disk capacity, buffer size, transfer mode Hard Disk Health, S.M.A.R.T. Information ( Self-Monitoring research and Reporting Technology ), Power On Time Mistake scan Temperature display

A FREE Hard Disk Utility To Benchmark And Test Your Hard Drive
The programmer of this hard disk application says that HD Tune might also work with other storage devices like memory cards, USB sticks, iPods, and so on. HDTune v2.5.2 only runs on Windows 2k, Windows XP, Windows XP 64-bit, Windows 2003 Server. It doesn’t support Windows 98 / ME. Most significantly, it is free.

[Download HD Tune]