Automatically create schedule images of PCs?

My dad runs a small business with about 10 employees, and I help him with IT stuff as needed.  Some of his employees have issues in that they use their computers to download non-work related stuff and go to non-work related websites and get malware on their PCs, then they complain loudly to me that they can't get their work done and try to make this my problem.

So, what I would like to do is buy external hard drives for each computer and purchase some software that will automatically create images of the computer's hard drive at a scheduled interval (like every sunday, for example).  This way, if a user breaks their computer, they can simply reimage it.  The software they use stores all data on the network, so losing data from the past week is not really a big concern.

What I am looking for is software that can do the following:

Create images of Windows 7 and Windows XP computers to an external USB hard drive

Do so based upon a schedule that I define, and without requiring any user intervention (i.e. it will reboot the computer, create the image, then reboot the computer back into the operating system)

Retain images based upon available disk space (i.e. if I am using a 1 TB external hard drive, and the image is 50 GB, then it should retain as many images as it has room for and delete the oldest one when it needs more room).  This is not a hard requirement, I can probably cobble together a script that can do this if necessary.

Provide a relatively easy method to restore an image - I.E. by relatively simple, I mean something that can be easily explained by a one page "cheat sheet" that an average person can understand
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Instead of buying individual USB harddisk i would recommend to buy a NAS. Make sure its RAM is good and performs at good speed over your network

Then you can use Paragon Backup and Recovery

which is free and will help you in scheduling the tasks. You can have full backup or incremental backups.Incremental backups will image the changed files only thus you will save a lot of space on your NAS.
If you are facing problems like virus and malware etc, you can install free antivirus on your client computers like AVG or buy a network license of ESET NOD
FWestonAuthor Commented:
The reason I'm leaning toward USB hard drives is because in my experience NAS performance is very slow, plus the existing network is only 100 mbit and if I wanted to backup all 10 systems every Sunday, all of them hitting a NAS over 100 mbit wouldn't really be feasible.  With the USB hard drives, I could reliably expect 300 MB/s aggregate write, which is 30x what I would get with a NAS, and 10x what I could get in a perfect world if I upgraded to a gigabit switch.
well if you will use a software like Acronis you can even define the data transfer speed and the time of backup etc.
Incremental backups help when you have a slow network. It will only transfer the updated files which wont be more than a couple of 100 mb etc

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FWestonAuthor Commented:
Thank you, that information is helpful.  I agree if I could do incremental backups that would significantly cut down on the backup time.  I'm wondering if the software is designed such that you do an initial full backup and then do incrementals from then until the end of time, or do you need to periodically do full backups?  I couldn't find that information on their website.
For the first time you will have to create a complete backup and then from there it will have incremental backups
Every incremental backup will have a different name and time stamp
FWestonAuthor Commented:
Yes, I'm just thinking in terms of points of failure.  Lets say I do an initial full backup, and then do incrementals every day.  If after 90 days, I want to do a bare metal restore, the restore will have to access all 90 backup sets.  If any of those backup sets is unavailable or damaged, then the restore will presumably fail.  So I'm just wondering if that's cause for concern.  I know with tape, that would be very dangerous, but presumably with disk it is less so.
well there is an option of backup verification.It does notify if the backup file created is damaged or okay.
You will have to keep an eye on the log
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