Here is a few ideas that you can think of trying to do the same. Some sound technical but it is just a idea and can be done with minimal effort in a program or manually.
You could go a few different ways with this instead of just cloning.
Either say have a separate partition as well as external usb hd with important stuff on that backs up say 2 times a week to this and if stuff happens you just install and copy the files back this way you know you have separate copies of the documents and mp3's etc. Always good to have a backup
that is not connected to anything only when needed should lightning strike.
You can also make a livedvd or remaster the current one but needs a bit more skill.
Ghosting / cloning a working disk has it's benefits and problems as you have to daily make a clone and then when did the problem happen so when is the restore point that would work ?
You always have the option to just pop in the livedvd and chroot back into your installed hd and fix from there as well. It just sounds confusing.
For me I like to keep my mp3's and documents apart or on network attached storage as well as a copy of /usr/portage and any entropy files that might speed up recovery or that I do not have to re-download again should the updates be more than say 500mb. getting a $50 usb hard rive with 400gb or more is very easy to use and store away + recover with, max transfer speed for usb is 30Mb/s, adsl / cable internet is 2-20Mb/s and dvd is less in a perfect world.
You can also use online storage like http://www.getgspace.com/
gspace using gmail 7gb space as file storage and has nice firefox plugin or other online storage space some for free depending on file size and if you have to pay for it can likely write it off against tax payments as business expense same, consult a accountant for this info.
It all depends on what specifically you want to have that you can recover from and how easy that is to maintain as with ghosting / cloning space can become a problem and reinstalling + updating is sometime more easier if files are on external storage than to try and fix or clone the image back.
5gb transfers at max speed of slowest hard drive in this process, so to re-install or copy back could end up taking the same amount of time as you would still end up with some updates that needs to be added. SL4.1 KDE or Gnome takes about 30mins avg with everything selected and slower with options removed + then updates.
Starting clean / re-installing is my choice and then only copy back usb or the confusing way = "mkdir /mnt/backup
&& mount --rbind /dev/sda3 /mnt/backup
&& cp -avr /mnt/backup
/somefolder /home/me/destination folder something "
You can even compress / bz2 the folder onto a usb drive and when needed extract or confusing way = "tar xvfjp /mnt/usb/backup
.tar.bz2 -C /home/destination somewhere " or any modified version of this depending on what make sense to you at that time.
Crontab or scheduling software can do something similar from backup
then compress then un-mount and copy back by creating a simple script and modifying this info with correct options.
Or clone / ghost image.
It all depends how much time and effort and what is the end results that you need to achieve + level of skill in linux gui / text you have.
Any dream will do.
Best of luck and post back if you find some interesting software for this or ways and how you managed to get it done as I am sure many folks here would be interested in reading it as well.