I come from a Unix background where documenting the configuration of a service (email for example) could be as simple as grabbing a few text configuration files and a paragraph or 2 of explanatory text.
Faced with documenting the configuration of a lot (50+) of Windows boxes I am dismayed to find out how difficult it is to get a view of a service configuration. I am building these machines from scratch so I am faced with the need to keep the configuration consistent across all machines. I will image all servers where practical using Ghost or similar but the actual configuration of services like AD or Exchange is such a manual point & click process that it could be easy to end up with inconsistencies.
How do people suggest I go about creating build documentation that will ensure consistency? and secondly how do you document the configuration without resorting to loads of screenshots etc? I am actually considering using Camtasia to grab a video of the configuration process which seems ridiculous.
Thanks for your help!
edit: Some of the answers below have been very helpful and I think will get me some way to where I would like to be. In particular, the use of answer files for scriptable installs will help to create consistent installations and some of the WMI tools will be very useful for documentation (LANsweeper, SYDisproject etc.)
What I really really want is to have a tool that could spit out all of the configuration into a human readable/editable format and also suck it all back in again. Unix has basically always done this with self-documenting config files so it is a great disappointment not to have the same facility in a supposedly modern OS!