I haven't tried it on Win8 yet, but for Win7 I swear by EasUS Todo Backup. You can (and definitely should) create a boot disk, using Linux, but it can also put the files on your hard drive and add an additional boot loader. That way you can boot to it without separate media.
It's also the fastest system backup program I've ever used. It's even lightning fast at the highest compression setting. That's more of an added bonus than anything since there's probably no real gain past standard compression.
I've also tried out Macrium when I was looking for a replacement for Acronis True Image. It wasn't as quick as Todo Backup, but configuration was quite a bit more straight forward and simple. I would have no problem recommending either program honestly.
I would definitely stay away from Acronis though. True Image 9 was one of the best pieces of software I've ever owned. For $40 it was certainly the best value. Since then they've added a bunch of bells and whistles which would be great except for the fact they've broken the crap out of the whole program in the process.