I have played with the power settings so much I don't know what the default settings should be. I am talking about when the hard drive shuts off, monitor shuts off when plugged in and running on batteries.
You could log on and set the power options for one user and then log on as Administrator and copy the first user's profile to the Default User Profile using the Control Panel/System tool (View hidden files needs to be enabled to allow the Default User to appear as an option). Unfortunately, that method would only work for a single computer.
I'd be hesitant to apply that change to an image due to differences between Laptop and Desktop power options (we use a single image for both).
If you use different images for different platforms, that method could work...I've successfully used it in the past. Reg.exe is also an excellent tool worth looking into, which is included with XP.
You can load a hive, modify settings and save the changes. For instance, with Reg.exe, you would load C:\Documents and settings\Default User\ntuser.dat. This makes the default user's registry available for editing.
You could then user reg.exe or regedit to modify the default settings and then save them. (Don't forget to unload the hive when finished.) This method could be used with SMS, login or other scripting method. use reg /? to get the syntax.
Powercfg.exe can also be used, but it only affects the power scheme settings on the first page of the Power Control Panel, and only for the current user. Not very useful if you want to change the behavior when a user closes the lid of his/her laptop. :-( On the other hand, microsoft offers guidance on incorporating it with Domain Policy (Search powercfg in the MS Knowledgebase).
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