Well, why don't I start with the bit that makes steam come out of my ears--the first reply in that thread from Microsoft? Now come on. Did that person even READ the original post? It DOES NOT MATTER how many "improvements" you made to a given program if it still doesn't generally work.
Okay...with that out of my system...I'm better now.
I know that at one time, Microsoft knew how to put backup functionality into Windows. Of course, they usually farmed it out to someone else, so maybe that is why it worked as well as it did?
NTBACKUP as provided in Windows NT 4, 2000 and XP has never failed me once...across disparate media types, full or partial restores...it always Just Worked.
Perhaps a little more surprisingly, so too did the M$-provided backup tool in Windows 98SE. I used it to do a number of partial restores before upgrading the hard drive in my then-daily-driver Compaq LTE 5000 laptop from a 3GB to a 12GB unit (those were the days...). I took a full backup, swapped the hard drives, reinstalled and updated Windows 98 and then I restored my fully backup.
One reboot later, it was just like I'd never left. Office 2000 was a little uppity, but it was nothing that a quick repair to the installation could not fix.
If I had to time or desire, I'd love to see if Windows 7 or Vista could do as well. The result might well be surprising.
Somewhere in here should probably be a suggestion that those who wish to backup their data should invest a little thought and time into what the best process is for them. A well thought out backup system will, in my view, work better than a point-n-go one...