@marlau in the last week I found out a few more things.
1) If you have a large tree of files to exclude, Paragon lists them individually. As example, I tried out W7 beta and did a "Custom" install. This gives me a Windows.old folder with a lot of the Vista junk in it. Well, I tried excluding it from the backup. The recitation of the exclusion list was going to take days I think!! Way longer than just backing up. I copied the stuff off with RichCopy utility. Turns out I had 206,000 files/folders in that tree!! What happened to the days of an OS on a disc you could lift?
2)If you have a RAID setup that needs a Windows driver, the Linux based Rescue CD isn't going to help much. I did a restore and it took overnight for it to lay the image back on. On my older system it would have taken 45 minutes to an hour. There may be a BIOS setting that might help but I wasn't it the mood to mess with it because I think everything on this machine is set up in a SCSI emulation and I have no idea why they set up RAID on a machine with One HD. Anyway, some of the backup programs are coming with WinPE that lets you load Windows drivers. If you have 32 bit OS you may be able to make your own BartPE based rescue, but 64 bit you are kind of stuck.
So my advice before even doing a backup is see what kind of HD configuration you have. Burn the Rescue CD and boot it. Go into the restore program. If when you select Normal Mode(the top menu choice) if the screen goes funky and it hangs, then you probably want to find a different program.
On my Dual Core PC running 32 bit Vista the Rescue CD works great. It's all a matter of hardware compatibility. It's better to find out before you're really stuck though. If it doesn't work out for you then you might try one of the others. I'm looking at Macrium Reflect that has a WinPE on the paid version but I'm trying to find out if there's a hardware list of tested disk controllers so I don't get stuck again.
If you have plain Vanilla Sata drive though, it should work for you.