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the sysprep.inf (or unattend.xml if Vista clients) is injected into the freshly imaged machine before it reboots into mini-setup, overwriting whatever .inf or .xml was in place before. The process assumes that the image you're deploying was sealed with sysprep before it was captured, we're just giving that image a new config.
1) the template thing is so you can not retype information, should you be in the .05 percent of admins who kept and can find a copy of the sysprep.inf they're using. It's read once, but when you click OK a new one will be created and associated with this os deployment task. To edit that file directly, right-click the script and select advanced edit, and you'll get two notepads (one for the osd script, one for the sysprep).
2) The location field you refer to is not editable, it's just informational.
3) Naming convention -- first get the device's name from the LANDesk database, but make up something good if that didn't work. What are you seeing?
4) That plus the other makes me think there's a name resolution problem... the image boots, but it can't see the core during mini-setup.