I've been using Macrium Reflect (Free ver) for about 7 months on 3 PC's. I use both Cloning and Imaging as they both have advantages.
Cloning and (full-HDD) Imaging accomplishes the same end result but does it differently.
Cloning requires a spare HDD available as the "target" HDD. It doesn't have to be the same size but should be an identical or larger size, if we're referring to the "Spinner" HDD's.
I like cloning since it provides me with the fastest plug-play recovery mode for several scenarios:
- Failed HDD
- Malicious recovery
- Bad download, ie user mistakes.
Imaging's big advantage is flexibility since you can store multiple full-HDD images (or incremental if you're using the paid version) on another storage HDD. For example, I have a 4 Tb HDD that stores a few full-HDD Images of my Desktop and Laptop PC's and a family member's Desktop PC.
The advantage of Imaging is that you can recover your PC's HDD by choosing among multiple snapshots of images, enabling you to roll back your PC's history at a point in time that best suits your requirements.
I do the same thing with Cloning since I have 2 spare HDD's. I clone my Desktop PC every 2 weeks. I recently downloaded a driver update for my Nvidia GPU which didn't work out well. It caused my Nvidia card to intermittently crash when streaming. In addition, the download included a "suite" of unwanted applications. The download was from the NVidia site but I didn't read the download info correctly.
Instead of uninstalling all of the apps, and the driver update, I installed my cloned HDD and was running with my original driver version within a few minutes.
It's just a personal preference but I like the fast recovery method with a cloned spare HDD on the shelf.
I always time any major update or download on a weekend where I've just cloned my HDD. That way, I can roll back my PC within a few minutes without using Windows Restore Point or uninstalling from the Control Panel.
Another advantage of using full-HDD Images or a Cloned HDD for recovery, is that in some cases, Restore Point won't work with some programs. For example. MBAM (MalwareBytes) recommends not using Restore Point for MBAM users since it can render it unusable.
I have 2 spare HDD's for another reason in addition to rotating cloning. I like to have a spare "lab rat" HDD for testing full-HDD Image recoveries and also to test some disk-wipe tools.
Regarding Macrium Reflect, I recommend that you test the complete HDD recovery methodology. ie, booting from the WinPE (or Linux) "Rescue" media that you create with Macrium. This way, you have confidence that you have a bootable rescue cd (or flash stick), and you can restore a full-HDD Image back to a new or blank unallocated HDD.
I always Clone and Image from my bootable media for this reason although it's not necessary with the volume shadowing techniques and similar methods, ie, Imaging or Cloning from the installed program tool on the "C" HDD.