Sometimes installers are specific about a component. Sound Forge installer screams if .net3(X) isnt installed even if you have use latest clr, then tries to download it. If it cant, internet disconnected, installer fails. Luckily i only have 2 programs that have very specific requirements and install and run on a (modified)barebone w7. I would have a go at a captured wim with your required programs installed, but not activated.
See this topic. Right, You install your chosen operating system, w7 or 10. Install your updates, any required .nets and c++ things. Make any System tweaks. Use the built in Administrators account. Run Sysprep to generalise and seal the install. Now connect that drive to your tech system and use DISM or GImageX to capture, effectively a snapshot of that install. You then save it as a wim file then replace the install wim in an extracted iso folder, load it into NTLite, make you changes. Apply and Save as per usual. All your updates, any required .nets, c++ etc will now be fully integrated(installed) on that image and not will show as Pending INstall. You could do it in a vm, but i would do it on a pc or laptop with only the c drive and install media drive installed, usb key or optical drive. You'll find GImageX on my Intereseting page. Use this guide at the eldergeek.
Some good news: I made NTLite build #53 with IE8 left in this time. Dragon is working again.
I was beginning to hypothesize that this was a DEP problem. Apparently not.
After I make a backup, I'll see if I cwn remove IE8 with Windows' Features. (I had removed IE before on my old Win7 and Dragon kept working.) If I can't do it via Features, I'll try via NTLite Live. I'll plan to report back later.