I have my HD set up with 3 partitions:
C: System and Programs
I wanted to use the Win 7 System Image for the C: only and other backup system for E:. I found that if I use Win 7 to do a system image for the C: partition only, when you restore it will erase the ENTIRE disk and then restore C: partition. I now use Macrium which will let me just restore the C: partition and leave the E: intact and it is free.
I have a WD Passport external drive to hold the image file and it came with a Sync program (WDSync) which I use to backup any files or directories I chose. If I make any changes it will Sync the backup files. What I like is I can setup a profile for my desktop and it stores the backup in a data base and I can make another profile for my laptop and it keeps it in a separate database. I can open a database and see all the files and can copy any or all anywhere I want including a new hard drive or computer.