Actually Windows 7 has backup inbuilt that can allow you to do just that. Unfortunately Win XP doesn't have that. Type backup in the Win 7 help.
Myself I am using Windows 7 inbuilt for an image and then another backup product called Oops!Backup from a company called Altaro ( http://www.altaro.com ) to back up my work (documents etc.) files when i work actively on them.
I know I can rely on Windows 7 Backup for a restore of the system but I also know that since I work with and modify my work files every day - the probability that I have a recent backup of my files in Windows 7 Backup is small.
That's why I use Oops!Backup as it's automated and can back up changes immediately - and best of all fantastically easy to use.
I realize this is a very general question, but does anyone have any advice for PC backup software? I have two laptops (Windows XP Pro and Windows 7) that need backing up to USB drives. I would prefer something that can restore an entire computer, like an image of my hard drive. I need something that can back up encrypted files.
I am evaluating Norton Ghost 15 right now, but it does not back up encrypted files as part of its regular back ups. It can only back up encrypted files as part of its whole disk image.
I can't seem to find a recent review from CNET of back up software either.
Thanks for your help.