as an alternative to burning CD/DVDs with either XP/Nero you may want to look into two more options (that I can think of right off):
1 - Using an external HD for storage of backup data/images/backup_files
2 - Using NAS (Network Attached Storage) for the same thing
Then you can simply use Windows Backup or any other backup software to create a backup file and place it on the external device.
*** External HD / HD Enclosures ***
In terms of Ext. HDs a lot are expensive because they are smaller laptop (2.5") hard drive in a well constructed enclosure for protection, usually connecting via USB 2.0.
The alternative to these costly devices is to simply buy an external enclosure yourself from New Egg (or somewhere cheap) for a regular 3.5" HD. Various enclosures can attach via cat5, usb, eSATA, wireless, etc. So they can really be adaptive to whatever your needs. My motherboard has SATA so I opted to buy this one:
It's nothing fancy and for sure there are far better ones, but this one worked for me and had eSATA which has a higher transfer rate to both Firewire and USB 2.0
*** Network Attached Storage ***
This option can get a little costlier, but in the long run might be better than an individual drive enclosures. All NAS systems will come with the pretty universal option to connect via Cat5 (thus "network") which will virtually guarantee it's connection to any computer without any driver issues. It would simply be seen as if it were a File Share on a networked computer/server. Additionally many good NAS systems usually offer the ability for multiple drives and drive redundancy by means of Raid, and even better some offer hot swappable removable drives for safe keeping of data off-site. Obviously these get a little more expensive depending on the options you go for, but here are two commonly used systems that you might be interested in (1 lower end, 1 more expensive) just to give you an idea of what's out there:
There are many more out there ranging in options and price, The SimpleShare seemed to be the cheapest, most readily available NAS system as they have a 60/80G system for a little over $100 and can be bought at most of your Best Buy / Circuit City's. In terms of options I really like the "YES" box by Thecus (2nd link above) as it offered dual-gig ports, USB and wireless. Additionally it was for SATA (wouldn't recommend IDE solutions as they are slower) and 2 HDs seemed to offer enough storage for anything I'd really need anyway. Thecus's next up NAS system is a whopper at $900+ but also has crazy raid functionality and hot swappable drives that you can take off site for safe storage.
Anyway... I hope this has given you at least a couple possible alternatives to backing up to CD/DVD. In terms of the clients I work with I find NAS, or External HDs a much more dependable method of backing up anyway since as you have pointed out you can spend a lot of time burning CD/DVDs and then you have to also verify that they can be read in another PC. In my opinion once you pass the stage of being able to burn it on 1 CD/DVD I start looking at backup to HD as it gets clumsy to work with multiple data discs.
Alright well I have rambled enough... hope that helps!
Live, Love & Google!