Create custom Windows 7 installation

I am wanting to create a custom Windows 7 installation so I can image and re-image systems quicker in our network.

I have read many articles and am confused because so many contradict each other. Basically all I need is a installation with a few added programs such as Office, Microsoft Updates, mapped drives, and the machine added to the domain. It does not need to be an unattended install. The installation should allow for multiple accounts that have the same settings.

I would like to be able to do it via usb. I do have a boot disk created via WAIK.  Do I need to do anything special so that the image will be joined to the domain? I just dont want to have to do extra steps for each new user who will use the computer.

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I use the Norton ghost product to create a disk image onto another hard drive.  It is very simple and works great for adding pre configured computers to a network.  However you will still need to join the computer to the domain, you cannot ghost that because the domain needs to create a computer account in active directory on the domain controller.
You'll want to use the Windows Automated Installation Kit to create a custom wim image, and then deploy it via imagex(On a flash drive works). As patmac pointed out, you'll still need to add them to the domain, also, you need to map the network drives, I don't think that is easily done with imaging. Look into the technologies mentioned and let me know if you have questions.

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The problem with imaging a system onto the domain is the computer name needs to be unique and usually an image has the same name every time. I have not tried this simply to prevent conflicts.

I use Acronis which has a universal restore option. You can install whatever you want, update it then image it onto just about anything. As long as you have an Office VL it should be fine.
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Windows 7

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