Well I did a clean install of Windows Vista yesterday and got all my programs and applications installed. This time I decided to create an image of the drive, and see how the backup / restore goes. My main drive (C:) is 83GB and after Vista and all the applications it has 35GB used. I downloaded and installed Acronis True Image Home 2009 from the Acronis website (direct link).
I created a full backup of my main partition, which was only 15GB after compression and took 20 minutes to create, after that the image was verified for redundancy. I then created the bootable rescue media which was only around 85MB, so can fit on a MiniCD.
I booted the disc, and did a system restore from the backup I created on my External HDD, all in all it took 25 minutes to restore, and worked beautifully.
So if your looking for a great image backup / recovery solution, I highly recommend Acronis True Image from personal experience.