If you have enough space to restore a unzipped image (let's say, about the size of all space you used up in February), I'ld much rather go that way.
It's a lot easier than nearly erasing your system to restore an image. If you can restore the image, I would think you can also mount it as an image.
So, what do you mean with "referencing" your images? Is it not on the same machine?
Any output/screendump or script that you can post?