Ok, now onto the next installment of my novel that you will want to read, heh...
As for you question about the drivers situation...While you mentioned you would not have internet on the computer once cloned, would you still have access to a different computer with internet, and a USB stick or external hard drive by chance? If so, it'll be quite easy to get your network card and/or wifi drivers installed.
First, on a computer with internet access, just go to Dell's Driver Support Page to look up the driver(s) you need. It'll ask for the Service Tag (found on a white sticker on the bottom of the D600 laptop. (Would look something like 'ST:5XPP78D')...Alternatively, you can choose that you don't have that and just want to select the model computer you're looking for. Either way, this'll give you a page of all the drivers Dell has ever shipped with the D600 models. (Hopefully this link works as a direct link to all D600 drivers: http://www.dell.com/...rivers/us/en/19)
From looking, there are 19 different download options for the network drivers. However, you'll want to play it safe and just download both the "Broadcom-Driver" download, and the "Intel-Driver" download. I actually have a Dell 600 that I use as a test machine and I know those two drivers are the most commonly installed cards, and one of them 'should' work. Basically they will download a Dell Self-Extracting executable file. You just copy these two executables to the USB stick/external drive and plug into the D600 after it's been restored. You then open the USB and run one/both of these files, as they should automatically attempt to install the network driver. If the first one you try determines that there is a different network card it'll just give an error and stop the install. You then just run the other executable and hopefully that'll be the correct one and you'll now be able to get internet access.
Once you have internet access, of course make sure you run Microsoft Updates, Anti-virus updates, etc, so that all software is as current as possible. Also, while Microsoft Updates does a good job identifying most of the other 'unknown' devices on your machine that won't be pulled over during the universal restore, I actually want to suggest you check out Slim Drivers by SlimWareUtilities (The link is to the CNET Download.com page). This tool uses a cloud based technology to scan your computer and locate all the most recent, up-to-date drivers for any unknown (or already installed) device drivers. The free version only allows you to download and install them one at a time, but it's so much better than manually searching for all the drivers you need (let alone trying to find out if installed ones actually need updated).
I agree completely with you that the whole aspect of loading drivers is a pain. While most PC's ship with a drivers CD, not all of them may, or they sometimes are not labeled correctly for you to easily identify them. It's annoying but we can only work with what they 'give us'. I actually like how Dell has the easy to use/search of drivers for their specific systems (again, only if you have internet connection on a computer heh). The thing that helps is having (and knowing about) these other applications that can help you out when the computer manufacturer's don't.
Hope all goes well with the universal restore, and hopefully my directions for getting the network card drivers (and using slim drivers for all others) is beneficial and is an easy process.
Keep me posted with any other questions, comments or concerns...I'm here to help if I can
/end chapter two