I have a registered but old and never-upgraded copy of Acronis TrueImage Home. Version 2010 is coming up on Bits du Jour tomorrow (Tuesday) at $24.99, but I think I'll pass. It's getting bloated with lots of features I won't need, and then there are many stories, here and elsewhere, about restoration problems.
So my choice now boils down to waiting for the discount on ShadowProtect Desktop to materialize or buying Macrium Reflect. With the discount, the prices for each will probably not be too far apart. (Sans the discount, there is no contest; ShadowProtect is way too expensive.)
ShadowProtect has one distinct advantage of HAL-independent restoration, but this isn't a critical feature. Macrium should be perfectly able to restore to a disk with a different geometry, which is the most I'm asking for. I've been running the free version of Macrium, and its service seems to be less resource-hogging than Acronis, which is good.
On the other hand, when booting from the Macrium rescue disc, the bootstrap system not only does not see my NAS drive, but it won't recognize the external MyBook drive, connected via Firewire, either. That last thing is a big letdown, since in a real emergency I may not be able to restore at all. (For a planned restoration I can put the system drive image on the second internal drive.)
On the third hand, the Pro version of Macrium Reflect comes with a WinPE disc, so hopefully it should see the external drive. Or maybe connecting the drive via USB instead would help. I cannot ask (on the fourth hand now!) since "Support forum registration is now only open to customers who have purchased Macrium Reflect" (http://www.macrium.com/support.asp) - sigh! I'll try emailing support, but officially that too is for registered users only.
I want to make the decision soon. My wife is getting me Windows 7 Pro for Christmas (yay!) and I want to image my XP system just in case before I move on to 7, and once running 7, I want to be making images regularly.
What to do, what to do?