During the past 10 years, conventional magnetic resonance imaging (cMRI) has become an established tool for the assessment of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and to monitor treatment trials. This is mainly due to the sensitivity and reproducibility of cMRI in the detection of MS-related damage. A large effort has also been devoted to develop imaging strategies capable of providing accurate estimates of the extent of disease-related damage not only in the brain, but also in the spinal cord and optic nerve. Guidelines have been defined to integrate MR findings in the diagnostic evaluation of patients at presentation with clinically isolated syndromes suggestive of MS, and specific acquisition protocols have been offered for monitoring longitudinal changes in patients with established disease. Despite the fact that the role of cMRI in MS has been profoundly obviated by the advent of modern and quantitative MR techniques, several issues are still unresolved. Technical development in acquisition and postprocessing, as well as the introduction of high-field magnets in the clinical arena, are likely to increase our understanding of disease pathobiology, mainly through an increased ability to quantify the extent of gray matter damage.