Somewhere along the line I missed this KB article:
Hotfix adds new functionality to suppress Plug and Play-related UI messages in Windows Server 2003 or in Windows XP
This could be useful when deploying new computers with missing drivers. You could include this fix and registry setting in your image. As the KB indicates, you shouldn’t leave the machine like this (unless maybe your end users don’t have rights to install drivers anyway) so change the registry key back to the default.