Dell/Nvidia unattended install

I spent most of the day today trying to get all the new hardware in the new workstations for the student sites working with my antiquated OEM style Windows 2000 setup. This is almost always something between visiting the dentist and trying to buy a new car: it either all works very quickly or you spend hours googling for tidbits of knowledge. But this year, I had a bit of an advantage: we ordered our Dells with Windows 2000 preinstalled, so I knew we’d have working drivers there.
But, I went racing off towards ‘cutting edge’ drivers from all the vendors, blindly erasing the Dell install on my test machine and stuffing on ours, assuming it would all just work. Ha, was I wrong, just like putting the case back on before you boot up your freshly built computer. Using the most recent NVidia Unified Drivers (56.something), GUI-mode setup locks up at the end of the Detecting Devices progress bar. Something isn’t right there. So, after a few more tweaks and adjustments of what I had downloaded, I gave up and went to dig through a Dell that hadn’t been formatted. I found a much older version of the drivers, from December 2003. Once I copied that set of drivers over to my $OEM$ directory structure, all was much better. Now I get to move full steam ahead into updating applications and other fun.