I forgot to post the tags correctly -- so I am re-submitting this question.
I have backed up wordpress using wordpress database backup version 1.8. The files are now as a download on my desktop.
I also backed up my files by going through my web host, and went through their back-up options. This created a zip file that is now on my desktop.
I am getting ready to upgrade to 2.1.2 -- and I am reading the instructions very carefully. By doing the two back-up steps I mentioned above, have I successfully backed up my .htaccess file? I do not see it listed with the wordpress back up plugin when I go to the manage plug-ins area.