My pc has the fine habit of going completely down every 6 months. Since it has a SATA hard disc, I need its special floppy too. It's a pain in the butt. I guess to have a ghost image might cure my pains (not the SATA problem though). Read Radified Guide to Norton Ghost. It explains the basic idea.
The combination of the small program file (ghost.exe, on a bootable floppy, or on a bootable CD/DVD) .. and the large image file [file_name.gho, stored on a drive/partition other than the one you plan to restore, or on a CD, or on a series of multiple "spanned" CDs if your image is larger than 650MB, or on a DVD] .. gives you the ability to restore your system to an earlier, working configuration .. in minutes! .. no matter how badly you screw things up. Sound rad? It is!
Another interesting link is about slimming down Windows XP. Ever wondered what those millions of files that come with XP do and whether you could safely erase them? Read the slimming guide by bold_fortune.