Apple's extension of the iMac 1TB Seagate hard drive replacement program was mentioned last Sunday, and late this week customers began receiving email reminders to schedule a drive replacement. If you're an iMac owner but not certain your machine is covered, you can easily check your serial number via the online validation tool.
While the Apple service program covers replacing your potentially problematic drive, it does not include backup or restoration of your OS, applications or data: that is on you. Please take our advice and spare yourself much pain and misery -- back up your drive now.
Time Machine is great, but when it comes to backup our firm recommendation is to have a bootable clone of your drive as well. This is particularly useful when you're pulling your digital life back together post-HD replacement. Steve's Mac 101 review of backup options will get you on the right track. (Note that one of our favorite cloning options, Carbon Copy Cloner, was previously free but is now a paid option alongside SuperDuper! and others.)
"But I back up to the cloud," you say, "isn't that good enough?" In this case, not so much. Recovering your entire set of files and apps from your remote service could be expensive and take quite a while. Fortunately, several of the Mac-savvy cloud backup services (CrashPlan and Dolly Drive in particular) have options to do a local backup as a supplement to the cloud safety net.
If you've already had your drive replaced under Apple's program, let us know how it went.