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You could also call renuser.exe (not a MS utility, but free) via a sync script in OOBE phase. This avoids having to modify the original image. This is how I do it and it works without issue.
I still have some questions/confusion about some parts of driver integration, but I think I can help you, as working on this has consumed much of my time over the past few weeks. First, to directly answer your questions: 1. Yes, if you just put your drivers into the VISTA image, they are not available to PE. 2. You can just use the second methods (add drivers in windowsPE pass) 3. Such drivers (added during the windowsPE pass) will be available to WindowsPE (storage and network drivers - which are the only ones you would need ....) AND later. They are added online to Windows PE and offline to the VISTA that is copied to your hard disk (but not yet loaded). Here's more of an explanation: Actually, the three methods you write below are all offline integration (that is, the version of windows for which you are updating the drivers is not loaded). Specifying "DriverPaths" in the windowsPE and/or offlineServicing passes will cause these drivers to be added to your windows installation (but not loaded at the time of the pass (or necessarily ever), just available when Windows detects hardware). They are added to what is called the DriverStore while the VISTA version you are installing is not loaded. During later stages, they will be loaded for VISTA (and included in system32\drivers) if the hardware is present on the system, during Plug and Play hardware detection. In addition, during the windowsPE phase, some drivers are loaded online into the current OS running, Windows PE. This is so VISTA setup, which is running on Windows PE, can access the hard disk and/or network. Thus, if storage/network drivers are not included in the the default image or your custom image, and you do not include them in your DriverPath in WindowsPE, windows setup may not be able to proceed. For example, if it cannot access your hard disk, it cannot proceed. If you require network access and it cannot access the network, then it also will not be able to proceed. Besdes these critical drivers, which must be either in your original image or added during the windowsPE phase, other drivers can be added at any point (they will just be added to the DriverStore). Where you want to add these drivers depends on your installation methodology. For example, how many images do you want to maintain? Where I work, we will most likely maintain just one image (the default image), and thus I just include all drivers in a DriverPaths in the WindowsPE phase, and do not need to put them elsewhere.
Upon reboot, which pass do you want setup to process, OOBE or specialize? Use /OOBE to cause it to restart into the OOBE pass. Use /generalize to cause it to restart into specialize. These options are mutually exclusive - you can only have one or the other, not both. Here is a link to sysprep's command-line options. http://technet2.microsoft.com/WindowsVista...3.mspx?mfr=true