As you have Acronis then why not continue to use it, it's an excellent program.
I had True Image V8, but recently upgraded to Acronis True Image Home V10. I periodically clone my HD to the external HD...each time a new clone is created, then it automatically deletes the previous one. If the HD on the PC is U/S then you can clone from the external HD to the new HD and everything is back to normal.
In fact a few months ago I realised my HD was malfunctioning, and that is what I did.
To clone a 160GB capacity HD takes about 18 minutes.
Hi phil.smith.....A clone is an exact copy (duplicate) of your HD.
A full backup image is similar, and can be used to restore files that were damaged/deleted etc.
Personally I prefer to clone to the external, then if something goes wrong on the HD you can reformat it, then use Acronis which will then be on the external HD to clone to the reformatted HD, you are then back to normal. If the cause of the initial problem was the HD, then you still have the clone intact on the external drive.
If the PC had a serious problem i.e. the MOB had to be replaced etc you still have everything intact on the external.