Apologies if this sounds terribly simple, as I've never done it. I know how to clone my entire system by going to Control Panel, Backup and Restore, and Create a System Image, but this ostensibly creates a duplicate of OS state, and the entire drive, data and all (for me around 500 GB).
I also know how to just backup data alone, but what I don't know how to do is backup just the OS and all installations (separate from raw, individual data and media files), so in the event of disk failure, I can simply reload the old system and programs (but not media files).
I'm not aware that you can make an image backup but only back up part of the image and not all of it.
The way that I do this is to partition my hard drives and put the data on a separate partition from the programs and OS. Then I can back up each one at different times and frequencies.
Something that you might consider is doing a full image backup of your entire hard drive. Then consider that the programs don't change frequently so you only have to redo the image when you think your program installation has changed significantly. After doing the full image then you can make periodic incremental backups. These don't take as much time or space to make. Then if needed you would restore the image backup then restore the incremental backups.
The system image backup backs up everything in the partition, so to exclude data files you need to place them into a different partition. This is the main reason why use a separate partition (or drive) for the OS.