Given we have five computers at my house, including my dedicated music server WinXP machine, I was looking for an effective -- and convenient, automated -- back up systems. What I settled on was Windows Home Server.

I did not go for the Hewlett Packard machine featured at the MS website; instead built a machine based on old, ATX case I had, new ASUS motherboard, AMD Athlon dual-core CPU, a new SATA hard drive, plus two other external USB drives that had been doing backup duties. I topped that with an OEM copy of WHS. Total cost was $500 giving me about 750 GB of easily expandable storage. Given the extremely efficient backup methods of WHS, (e.g. no file duplication even across multiple computers), 3/4 terabyte is fine for the moment.

This system now backs up all my computers automatically every night. I can restore any computer entirely or in part to any any point in the last 30 days.

Also, the WHS provides public share folders. I use a music share for my downloads, but not for my main music collection; this remains on an external USB drive on my music server machine, though that is backed up nightly, of course.

One obvious shortcoming of the WHS and other NAS backup solutions is that they don't inherently provide off-site backup. Personally I also back up critical files, e.g. financial but not music, to Mozy's internet service.