I'm a novice, too, but I just last week used the trial version to clone my old drive which was getting too full and it worked perfectly. I also created a backup image which checked out fine with the validate feature.
One thing that I have heard, is that if you use DVDs to store an image, sometimes they can be corrupt or not restore properly. I think most people recommend using a backup external drive. What are you using?
Also, are you creating the image within windows or are you using the bootable CD? Some people seem to think that it is better to run acronis from the bootable CD, so if you didn't do that, you might want to try. If you got a downloadable version of acronis and don't have a bootable CD, you can create one using Acronis, from the tools menu. Just follow the prompts.
Other than that, maybe try doing a google search. I came across something recently about corrupt images, but can't really remember what the solutions were. I am not aware of firewalls and AV programs being a problem. I do know that Norton GOback is not compatible and has to be disabled when running a lot of Acronis functions.
Edited by melbb, 04 June 2008 - 02:43 PM.