The problem with drive image is that it creates a complete image of the Hard DISC including blank sectors. If you have a large Hard Drive and have used a small section of it, you will need many CD's or DVD's to trnasfer the complete image including blank sectors on the drive. I recommend NERO RELOAD 6.6 which has with addition to burning and copying software, a very usefull backup utility that backs up only the written sectors.Very easy to use. You can download for free a Demo version from click here site. Worth considering.
With the advent of DVD writers, I don't use any specialist software at all for Data backup. I ensure that all data is saved somewhere in My Documents and simply write the whole folder to DVD weekly. Provided that you have the originals of your application software, you can recover from disaster. You can also use the files on another computer in the meantime without difficulty as there is no compression or similar involved.
What you really need is a 'belt and braces' approach. If you have a second hard drive or your single drive has at least 2 partitions, use an imaging program like Acronis True Image (which I use regularly) or Norton Ghost or similar.This can be saved on your second drive or partition and, if you like, saved in 'chunks' which can be burnt to CD or DVD so you'll always have a copy. Should disaster strike it is a relatively simple and quick job to restore the image giving you back your drive exactly as it was when the image was made and with no need to reinstall Windows, configure it and reinstall all your programs. At the same time you can make a backup on a weekly, or whatever, basis using one of the many backup programs available. Windows own back up program is as good as any. Pc Advisor gave away a copy of PC Backup 2005 on the Jan 2005 cover disk. Back up your documents, e-mails, address books etc. with your chosen back up program which you can restore at any time and especially after restoring an image. Hope this helps.