for backing up files, I tend to just manually copy the files over when I want / need to
what programmes are you wanting to back up exactly?
You might also want to take a look at dropbox
The basic account is free, and gives you 2GB of storage space. Basically you have a Dropbox folder on your computer, and that folder syncs to your Dropbox online. You can then access your dropbox online from any computer in a browser, and you can also add multiple computers to the same dropbox account (making sure you have access to all your files no matter if you are on your laptop, desktop or whatever, without having to transfer them using a memory stick)
I use Dropbox as another backup effectively, just in case anything happens to my external hard drive