1. RTFM (Read The Freakin’ Manual)
  2. IF you don’t already have one, purchase a DVD±RW drive.
    They are relatively inexpensive and they come in handy for all sorts of things, especially backups. If you have a laptop and can’t install a new drive, get an external.
  3. RTFM
  4. Get backup software and use it!
    First thing to do when you get your system up and running is back it up! I personally recommend True Image by Acronis for this procedure in Windows, and Carbon Copy Cloner for Mac, but you can use whatever you are comfortable with (Ghost, Clonezilla, Kleo, etc). It’s helpful to use backup software that does not rely on the operating system to function, so make sure whatever you use can be loaded at startup by either a floppy (does anybody use those anymore?), USB stick or a CD. Once you have a backup of a working system, you can easily go back and reload one that you know works if you ever run into trouble. I also recommend making a new backup before every software install, and then after, once you have determined that the install was successful and have tested it for awhile. Make copies of these backups on a regular basis, and keep them off-site.
  5. RTFM (Seeing a pattern here?)
  6. Backup active sessions daily
    If you have worked on a session at all, back it up. Most small sessions will fit on cheap CD-R or better yet CD-RW disks, or for the bigger ones DVD-R/RW (see suggestion above), and you can just copy the session folder to that media. If the session doesn’t fit on one media, split it onto two, but make sure you document what you did, and how you did it. External drives can also be good for this purpose, but can also suffer failure like regular drives.
  7. RTFM nope, I’m not giving up on this one. Deal with it.
  8. Pro Tools has an auto backup feature. For your own sake, please make sure that it is turned on and set appropriately for what you are doing. (Setup->Preferences Operation tab)
  9. RTFM… Seriously.