I get loads of teachers at work coming to me who have faults on their computer that means it needs reformatting, and personally I seem to regularly need to reformat my computer for whatever reason and that generally means backing up all of my work documents and valuables and then reinstalling applications.
If you are not all that tech savvy this can be quite a headache but I have three simple tips for you today to ensure you don't lose your work and save stacks of time reinstalling software. Hope this helps.
1: Partition your Hard Drive: This is a no brainer. You make 2 drives on your computer a C:\ Drive that has all of your operating system and software and applications on it and a D:\ that contains all of your documents, music, photos, etc. By doing this if your OS crashes all of your docs are safely stored on your D:\ Drive and you can confidently delete and reinstall windows without losing data. Any disk can be reformatted and here is some advice on how to do it below.
2: Install and use dropbox: Dropbox is the ultimate cloud based storage tool for ensuring you can save work to your local PC and it will be safely backed up to the cloud. Once again if your computer fails or gets stolen or something all of your docs can simply be downloaded to your PC exactly as they were. Dropbox is free for the basic package and you can find out about it here.
3: After reformatting head straight to ninite.com: I just came across this last week and it is a ripper. Ninite has about 100 applications that people generally install on their PC ie: firefox, Chrome, Skype, Flash, Acrobat, Winrar, Picasa etc and installs them in one hit in a fraction of the time. Swing by ninite and take a look now.