This chapter has barely scratched the surface of what you can do with scripting, batch files, and automation. I hope that you'll check out my book Windows XP Under the Hood, Hardcore Windows Scripting and Command Line Power, published by Que. It contains tutorials, handy reference sections, and many more examples.
Some other books I've found helpful are
Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI), by Ashley Meggitt and Matthew M. Lavy (New Riders)
WMI Essentials for Automating Windows Management, by Martin Policht (Sams)
Windows NT/2000 ADSI Scripting for System Administration, by Thomas Eck (New Riders)
In addition, there are numerous Web sites devoted to scripting and automation. Some of the sites I've found useful are listed ...