ActiveImage Protector Personal Edition is a free and unusually full-featured image-based backup tool.
The program's helpful wizards make it easy to create a complete backup of your chosen drive or partition, for instance. Your image file may be password-protected, compressed and encrypted. And a comprehensive scheduler allows you to configure exactly when you'd like to run full or incremental backups.
There are plenty of configuration options available. So you can run scripts before and after the backup job has been run; it's possible to split the image into equal-sized files, perhaps for copying to DVD or Blu-ray discs; and a convenient Network Throttle feature allows you to limit the program's use of bandwidth, so your network doesn't grind to a halt when it's running.
And the ability to mount an image as a virtual drive within Explorer makes it easy to restore specific files or folders from a backup.
The program is also a huge download at over 500MB, but don't worry, ActiveImage Protector doesn't need that much hard drive space (the standard installation is around 40MB). What you're downloading is an ISO image which also includes a CentOS-based recovery environment. If your hard drive is corrupted and Windows won't start, boot from the ActiveImage Protector disc instead, and it'll help you restore a previous backup and get your system working again.