A new Symantec survey has discovered that people are more likely to check the oil in their car than they are to back up valuable data. When you consider that our computers are so much more than mere work machines, that they have become very much woven into the fabric of our lives as both 'life storage' facilities and some might even argue 'emotional hubs' that contain our digital souls, it is rather surprising that we are so lax about backing it all up.

But, despite admitting to feelings of anger and upset when data is lost, the survey participants are quite clear about it: only 34 percent make regular data back ups, and only 22 percent back up all their data. Of 1000 people surveyed, 38 percent said that yes they had lost files and the average cumulative replacement cost for a UK user when it comes to all the data on their PC was a hefty £1258.

The most expensive data to replace was video which worked out to £158 for all recorded TV content on an average PC, with home videos adding another £108 and £101 for downloaded movies. Household information beat off the music in the replacement costs stakes, at £85 on average for documents compared to £80 for the tunes.

Forget the money, honey, as Symantec’s survey also confirmed a strong emotional connection to the huge range of personally significant files stored on PCs. Losing photos, personal information, financial information and work or academic documents has the most emotional impact.

Lost photos were top of the list with 82 percent saying that they would be upset at losing these memories which is a shame as this is the most likely type of data to be lost. The survey says that of the 45 percent who had experienced data loss some 48 percent had lost digital images.

Con Mallon, director of product marketing at Norton told us "Our relationship with our computers has changed in recent years. We now use them as the storage vault for priceless, unique files with huge emotional value, replacing the treasured photo albums, or the stacks of love-letters tied with ribbon. This is why I am concerned at people’s complacency: only 22 per cent of people surveyed backup all of their files."