Man, you are right on the button as far as I am concerned.
Profiles are a great way to handle the scenario that you described.
I am assuming by pallettes, you mean menus?
Zen, this may help you out.
Are you familiar with VBScripting?
If not, it is very easy; take this code that I posted below, copy it into a new text (.txt) file, then do a saveas, then name the file and save it as a .vbs file.
After you do that, you will be able to double click the file (script) and it will open ACAD, import the profile that you want active, then it will close ACAD.
I did not do any code to check if ACAD is already open, I could if you wanted but if your user has ACAD closed and runs this, it will do what you described.
All you need to do is change the file path and Profname
Then I would test it (of course) on your machine first.
I use a profile called "Test" just to try things out.
If you like it and want something else added, just give me a holler
Hope it helps
Set Acad = CreateObject("Autocad.Application")
Set WshNetwork = CreateObject("WScript.Network")
Set Preferences = Acad.Preferences
Acad.Visible = True
Username = WshNetwork.UserName
FilePath = "C:\Documents and Settings\" & Username & "\My Documents\TestProf\"
Profname = "Test"
Preferences.Profiles.ImportProfile Profname, FilePath & Profname & ".arg" , True
'MsgBox "The Profile " & Profname & " has been sucessfully imported", vbInformation