I noticed that by default, (my version of) Windows 7 doesn't warn about early hard drive errors.
I've read somewhere that they didn't want to bug end-users with the problems their system administrator should deal with. In the past, microsoft their policy certainly seemed quite the opposite. Now lets make it clear, of all things the end-user SHOULD be bothered with, is the safety of their personal data.
Here is a quick fix.
Put below in a blabla.reg file,
or goto start> run > regedit and change it manual:
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
"DfdAlertTextOverride"="Hard Drive Failure"
You might want to goto control panel > folder options > view > uncheck hide extensions for known types, in order to allow easy creation of above mentioned .reg file.
Now to enable a tight s.m.a.r.t. check schedule, go start > write "cmd" in search box > rightclick > run as admin
schtasks /Create /F /SC weekly /D MON,TUE,WED,THU,FRI /TN "Check Hard drives for S.M.A.R.T. issues" /RL HIGHEST /TR %windir%\system32\DFDWiz.exe
With this fixed, i'd like to point out that if you aren't using an extra UPS (emergency power supply), you should keep write cache disabled (as default) on your hard drive in case of a power failure.
If you are using an UPS, then with the smart checks enabled you probably don't need to backup your data anymore...