welcome to forum.
In former times we made some scripts to do such tweaks too. But in the last years we switch to GPO. Why we change it?
There are some important causes:
We use different versions of our client images for different machines. Nearly with every generation we add some tweaks but we've problems to make this tweaks available to older machines.
We have to change some tweaks but it is not to easy to reach them and to be sure that it is done.
We do not know which tweaks are made, no central documentation.
With GPO we have only one central point of making settings for all clients, well documentated on a central point, every time easy changes and adds possible. Different GPO's can be used for different OU's, etc.
The most important facts for us were the documentation point and the central console.
But if you do not want to use it you can try the following:
Scan your registry with a registry scan tool (or use package builder) (I've a free and fast tool in office, but I've forgotten the name, I'll send it...)
Start gpedit and make your settings.
Scan a second time and check the differences
Create a script (package) with the differences
That's all. Sorry I must break now...
Why not make all those changes initially when you create your image? Are you familiar with configuring the default user profile prior to running sysprep? If you do that, all new profiles will be created with these settings. You can find details here:
We thought to change the settings in Default User too, but how do you change the settings afterwards if necessary? So it is easier to do this with policies...
If you use a full scripted unattended installation (s. http://unattended.msfn.org/unattended.xp/) you need reg files or the reg.exe command to patch the profile...
I am not actually using an image so I didn't know how to implement the changes. When we used to use Ghost or the LANDesk imaging utility I did customize the default user account. The only problem is we have about 30+ models that we need to keep up to date so imaging takes too long. Unfortunely, I don't think there is a way for me to customize the default user account before XP is installed.
Axel, Thanks for the tips on using a snapshot tool. If I don't figure out a better way to do this I might resort to using it. We don't really want to implement GPO policies as this could be more restrictive to some users than we want to be. Some of the information on the <[http://unattended.msfn.org/unattended.xp/]> site looks to be useful for scripting but I don't see how they will help me accomplish all of my needs. I am still looking for a utility like the SetupMgr.exe from Microsoft. Though, it doesn't look like they make a utility. It looks like I may have to start scripting everything by hand. Your insight and thoughts are much appreciated.
So it sounds like you are not using imaging and running an unattend for your installations. You also have several customizations you want to make. As indicated above GPO is a good option since you have central on and off control. If you are not familiar with this you can:
Bake the settings into the XP install using Nlite not all you requested options/hacks may be present.
Use the GuiRunOnce section of sysprep. It appears that most of your requested settings are reg edits. So you could use a batch file with a bunch of REG ADD statements.
Create a custom vulnerability for the settings and use autofix.
The hardest part is going to be tracking down all the reg settings. If the settings are GPO related you could search the .adm files (policy templates) for the appropriate reg keys. All GPO does is set reg keys.
I use the tool regshot to see differences in registry: https://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group_id=215449
The site http://unattended.msfn.org/unattended.xp/ described a method to create a unattended installation of Windows XP. The advantage is that you can use only one installation source for all of your different hardware. You do not need for every hardware a own image! Before we switch to this method we've a lot of ghost images from our hardware, and it was a horror to update them (with new software, patches, bugs...).
Now it is very easy to add new hardware and test it. Only drivers will be added in a directory and one file, the unattended.txt will be changed.
The first creation of the unattended.txt will be made by setupmgr.exe...
Another method is to use the new provisioning with LANDesk, but I'm not so familiar with and you can do it only with a connection to a core. (I've heard in version 8.8 the templates for PC's increased, in 8.7 I've only some for servers...)
The next method is to use the LDPREP tool to create a hardware independent image (I've never tested...), s. http://www.droppedpackets.org/Members/jbuelens/hii-winpe.zip/view?searchterm=ldprep
Or use the Microsoft provisioning method WAIK/BDD... you can use it for XP too, not only for Vista... (I'll test it in some weeks, I hope... )