Back up software has all the appeal of flossing; you know you should, but it is mundane a chore with only an occasional payoff. Acronis True Image Home makes backups as easy as possible, with good functionality, and none of that flakiness so typical of these solutions. I began using True Image when it became clear my notebook hard drive was starting to fail. I wanted to capture all the data on my drive to make recovery as painless as possible. My boot sector was beyond saving, but I managed to get all the data.
The process was a trivial wizard where you pick what you're backing up, and then let the backup software go. I like this solution better than anything else I've found mostly because I can do a complete backup of my hard drive while still using the machine. That means no more bizarre bootups with some lost floppy or CD. The result is that I backup my system more often, and I know that if I have a drive failure I can get back to a known state. They also have a schedule option so I could even have nightly backups run. I haven't used that functionality yet, but I really should. Isn't that so typical?
Recovery is just like I want it. The program makes a compressed image of your hard drive, and provides an intuitive way to open that image and browse the files. If you do a complete backup, and need to create a new hard drive, it is equally easy.
When I re-created my hard drive I saved the basic OS install, and then the install with various programs installed. This will make even partial recoveries easier.
Backup isn't really a fun activity, but Acronis does its best to make it easy and painless. You know you should do backups, now there's an easy way to make that happen. Use it. I can't really recommend any other solution for backup drudgery. Go, buy it today, it's not very much money and it'll save you a ton of time and possibly money when your hard drive does the inevitable and fails.