Keeping the recovery image on the same drive? - If your HDD in the laptop developed a fault and failed you wouldn't have any backup image to put onto a new HDD.
If possible I would burn a Vista recovery DVD, does it give you this option?
My first choice:
I would advise using Acronis True Image (I use ATI 11) and put the backup image on an external drive.
You would then be able to keep an updated image of Vista and all your data and new programs ready for a quick restore in the event of HDD failure or virus infection etc.