For serious back-up and data recovery, I recommend SuperDuper!. It has actually saved my bacon in the past so I can say with certainty that it works. In layman’s terms, SuperDuper! quickly and easily creates back-ups and clones of your hard drive in case of emergency. This is not Time Machine, that stores iterations of files and versions but a straight-up back-up of your data, home folder or clone of your drive. SuperDuper! does claim it is a perfect complement to Time Machine though.
I had not yet gotten around to installing the most recent version of SuperDuper! on my laptop before it got stolen last week so trust me when I say $27.95 is a small price to pay for the lost work-hours, family photos and treasured memories.
Update: SuperDuper! is free for the basic version. The $27.95 price tag is for the upgraded version that provides scheduling and smart back-up options. So, download the free version and try it out. You’ll be glad you did.