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If your RIS box is running Windows Server 2003 then you can take advantage of the new Windows Deployment Services (WDS) which is the upgrade to RIS needed for it to be able to deploy WIM images and PXE boot WinPE 2.0. The advantage you gain is a fully networked preinstall environment, ala WinPE 2.0, and an image format with much better compression ratios and supportability/provision. Through the single instancing feature of the WIM format you could have a single image with 2 completely different windows xp builds and not have to worry about storing duplicate files (imagex basically does the same thing the RIS groveler service does). Also, you can provision a WIM image offline which means you can mount it to a folder and make changes to it without having to image a box and resnap as you would with RISREP. Edit: Forgot to mention that once you have your WIM image your options for deploying it are much greater than with RIS. With WIM you could use WDS/RIS, a simple network share, a bootable CD/DVD, etc. All in all Microsoft did a great job with version 1.0 of WDS and imagex.
Matt could you quickly describe the process you followed to identify the registry settings that needed to be added to the software hive? This is the one part I continually struggle with....identifying files needed pretty easy, catching registry settings from all the chaff seems a bit like voodoo magic. Thanks!