Acronis, DriveImage XML - Mirroring a CPU

Hi guys. I have some questions regarding the imaging software a lot of people seem to use, with varying degrees of success. First and foremost, I'm not sure if this is the right forum to post this in, so if it's not, please let me know where the best place would be.

I work in a family business that uses about 4 computers that are networked together through windows. While we always back up important files, I'm curious about these imaging softwares. How do they work exactly, and what are their limitations? These are some of my specific questions, that I hope someone can help educate me about.

* When they "restore", do they need to be restored to a puter with that OS already running, or can it be a bare drive?

* Apparently they take a photo of your hard disk, and restore it. Does this mean you could restore to a different computer? I ask because I'd like to build new puters to replace some of the older one's we have here, but don't want to mess with attempting to restore all the unique software that some of them use. Is this possible?

* Hypothetical: I create an image on 5/1. A week later my puter melts. It's totally fried. I build a new puter, and install the image back-up. Does this make my puter exactly the same as it was on 5/1? Meaning, all software, programs, pictures, music, Lotus files, Quickbooks, etc. are all loaded on the replacement/new PC, exactly as they were on 5/1?

* If the above is true, then couldn't someone simply use the restore CD to load an OS onto a new box? Build a puter, install the OS, make an imge back-up of the the new/clean hard disk, and install it on the next puter you build. Is this possible?
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More about acronis driveimage mirroring
  1. I received Acronis True Image Home 11.0 with an Intel motherboard abnd have installed a new SATA HD 1 TB in my computer. The Clone Disk in Hard Drive Utilities did an excellent job of moving all my partitions to the new HD.
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