This thread at this forum may help with your question about Imaging:
Backup Software, would like opinion(s) Refer to post # 4 where quiteman7 included links for additional information about Imaging backup tools. I'm using a couple of the ones mentioned in his post.
In addition to Imaging, Cloning can also provide a full-HDD backup tool. I use both methods and as Platypus posted earlier here, full-HDD backup plans will provide a recovery path for nearly all malicious presences as well as other numerous situations, bad download's, user errors, HDD failure.
One of the best benefits of having full-HDD backups available in my opinion, is the "peace of mind" aspect, knowing that you have a complete fast recovery method to roll back your PC, like a "time machine" to a point in time prior to an occurrence of malicious intrusions or a user error.
Here's a thread (at this forum) that may help with describing the types of Imaging.
clarification about dell backup/recovery software and an alternative
I've been Cloning periodically for about 3 years with my 2 Win 7 PC's and a family member's XP PC and it's provided a fast recovery method on a couple of occasions during that time. I Image occasionally for redundancy in the event that one of my Cloning processes fail or if I encounter a stubborn malicious presence that may require a more involved HDD cleaning method.
My Mom's original XP PC HDD (lasted about 9 years) failed a few weeks ago. I installed a cloned HDD in her PC and was running normally in about 10 minutes. It's hard to beat that kind of recovery speed, my opinion.
Image recovery provides the same end results, just takes a little longer (for my PC's) to run the Image-recovery process.