I gave up on the built in image back up as it did not give me what I needed.
So with help for acronis customer service I managed to create a working back disk which liked by system (all the other free ones did not work well and this had to be built with a windows PE disk and windows drivers
I asked the question about trying the above backup and testing method and they said it would work fine (I have not tried it as yet and below it what information they sent me) As for the testing restore procedure, your thoughts are absolutely correct - you can restore your system image (image of C: partition) to the U: drive and test how it works after that. Please be aware that all links to your downloads, favorites, etc. you have set up will stay intact as the information about these links are located in the registry itself and will be restored along with your system. So the basic testing procedure will be: 1. Create an image of disk C:. 2. Boot from Acronis bootable rescue media. Please be aware that letters can be named in different way in rescue environment: http://kb.acronis.com/content/1519 3. Restore the image to new drive U:. 4. Wait for the operation to be completed. 5. Reboot the machine and go to the BIOS. 6. Set the boot sequence to be booted from drive U:. 7. Save the settings and reboot the machine.
Hope it helps