one of those adapters that let you connect harddrives to USB. get one that does pata and sata.
if your computer dies, you can recover your harddrive, if a friends goes, you can save thier music and documents.
if the harddrive is the part that breaks, most of the time you can freeze it (IN A ZIPLOCK!) overnight, and in the morning, you'll usually have another 2 or 3 hours to transfer files to another PC.
these tips will make you a superhero when it counts. nab one of those adapters, 10, maybe 15 bucks.
EDIT: Yes, Pata is also IDE. I'm old. go away :p
EDIT AGAIN: link like one of these, its not the same one i have, but its the same idea. mine was cheaper, and is blue.