Surely, you can wait, if everything else works fine.
As for system restore...
I highly recommend, you use Erunt: http://www.larsheder...nline.de/erunt/
In my opinion, it's better, then System Restore, and I use it on all my Windows versions.
So, that would take care of your system restore issue.
No. Hard drive image will take a lot of space. It'll be compressed, but it still will be about 70-80% of whatever is the size of used part of your hard drive.
For those programs that you suggested, do you have to copy to a CD or flash drive?
You'll need an external hard drive to fit those backups on.