A nice little free utility came to my attention recently, called vLite. Although I have virtually no experience with Vista nor do I want any, this little tool seems to cut out some of the excess that Microsoft insists on installing by default. Taking the installation down from the standard 15 GB, to just 1.4 GB. It can also integrate hot fixes and other patches, then make the whole thing into a burnable ISO making it useful on more than one front.
There is also a version for XP called nLite.