Cross-platform Clonezilla is a great tool for handling your system backup and system restore needs. Just tested it out using the Live CD on my laptop and found it to be very fast and very successful.
Initially I used the stable release of Clonezilla to back up my laptop’s entire hard drive to a USB external hard drive. No problems at all. However, I hit a minor snag when restoring the system with the stable release in that it failed to re-install grub. Oops. Not to worry though, Clonezilla has an “alternative” release based off Ubuntu (the stable release is built on standard Debian). Since I happen to be running Ubuntu, I made a new Live CD with the alternative Ubuntu release and once again tried the system restore. This time it worked perfectly and my system is exactly as it was at the time I backed it up.