Quote: Originally Posted by rocks911
Is there a better alternative?
I'd even pay for this peace of mind.
It's hard to beat your initial choice of free Macrium Reflect. You can also use Windows inbuilt imaging as an additional safeguard if you wish.
You may be giving "cloning" too much credit.
If you restored your image to say a brand new HDD of the same or greater size you would end up with a fully functional system (OS, programs, data etc) just like if you cloned.
Cloning is just a bit by bit/ sector by sector copy. Cloning would copy everything which you don't really need like pagefile contents etc. Cloning requires the physical disc to copy to now and that is why Macrium gave the message it did.
Using imaging you need no preparation for even a new HDD if your current one dies, just physically connect it (by itself) and run the image restore process. If your current HDD just screws up then do an image restore back to it.
Typically you'd store multiple images on an external HDD representing snapshots of your HDD say a week ago, a month ago etc. Then pick the one you want.