The QILINGs recovery CD works fine for disk image backup. I mounted the Windows PE iso with PortableWinCDEmu-4.0.exe instead of installing the suggested program.
Backing up disk images on 3 different computers and in one case restoring the image within the last 50 days have been trouble free (the recovery CD is labeled “trial”). From within the bootable CD a subset of the tools is available, among them resize and clone disk.
Working free space on the backup destination drive (external HD) equal to the size of the drive to be imaged is required, though the final compressed image will be much smaller.
I own a large external HD and my laptops are with relatively small hard disks, so works for me, also on XP.