I have just bought a 250G external HD in order to back up my 160G internal HD. My intention is to be able to have a copy of everything on my internal HD including files, OS, registry, email, programs and customised settings. I want to be able to restore full functionality instantly in the case of total disaster. Acronis advise against making a disk image on an external drive but making it on my internal drive seems daft to me. Firstly it will occupy 50 to 80G of my 160 HD at normal compression rates and secondly what happens if the HD fails/breaks completely? Would it be better for me to clone the entire drive to a 160G partition on my new external drive and create a bootable Acronis CD in case the OS fails. Will this strategy save everything I want including email etc? Will data encrypted by special software I have installed (universal shield) be recoverable? How easy is it to back up new files to a clone of the internal HD? I am really struggling to get my head around all this and I don't find the Acronis help guides and FAQ's very user friendly. Thanking you in advance for any help.