System restore is fantastic in correcting problems back to where they were before problems started.
Basic system restore information:
Cheryl, System Restore simply saves a snapshot of certain pieces of your operating system (it doesn't touch your personal documents, pictures, music, etc.), and if you have problems, it allows you to quickly restore back to a time when things were working correctly.
Backup and Restore is a little more advanced. In Vista Home Basic and Home Premium, you are allowed to backup data only, not the entire operating system. But if you have Vista Business, Ultimate, or Enterprise, there is a more advanced backup and restore utility called Windows Complete PC Backup and Restore.
Quoted from: http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/tutorials/how-to-use-vista-complete-pc-backup/
This program allows you to create an entire backup of your computer that can be used to restore your computer in the case of system-wide failure. Unlike the standard backup and restore feature that comes with all the versions of Windows Vista, Windows Complete PC Backup and Restore allows you to not only restore your data but also the complete operating system and other critical system files.
Restoring from a "Complete PC Backup" takes longer, but restores your entire computer (including personal files) back to its state at the time the backup was created.
Now, after that speech, I am pleased to inform you that you only need to backup your C (System) drive.
Backing up the Recovery drive is somewhat redundant.
Do you have any other questions or concerns? Feel free to ask.