|Your idea is sound. You should always maintain backups anyway. |
Either of those programs will work. Burn your image to DVDR media and you can boot directly to the first disk to restore. Both those programs allow you to span multiple disks when using optical media. The data is also compressed. The typical compression rate is about 2/3 the starting size. So, 30GB of data may only require 20GB of disk space.
Of course mp3 and jpg files are already compressed. I don't even recommend you bother with imaging those type files. Just copy them to DVDR.
The drive can be any hard drive that is compatible with your laptop.
I wouldn't change the drive unless it quits working or becomes erratic/undependable.
On another note, your slowness could be due to a number of possible issues.
Do you have an extended warranty that covers the screen? Normal warranty would not cover accidental damage.