While waiting for a reply to my post, I did some experimenting and found a ‘work-around’ for the Regional Coding problem.
My free version of DVD Decrypter (126.96.36.199) will rip a regionally coded DVD without changing the DVD drive coding using what it refers to as ‘brute force’ It warns that it will take longer, but it was my experience that it increased the ‘ripping’ time by less than 30 seconds.
When you do this you have all the files (VOB, BUP and IFO) in a directory (folder) on your hard drive, which you have named the name of the video. Create a folder labeled VIDEO_TS in this directory and move all the files into this folder.
You now have a folder (name of video) of VIDEO_TS files which DVD Decrypter has eliminated the regional coding. NOT the formatting, which in my case was PAL.
You can use it with ImgBurn, DVDShrink, etc.
The DVD drive Regional Coding has not been changed.
Admittedly this is a bit cumbersome, but for a newbie like me I feel more confident than having to mess with the drives firmware, not to mention the OS (Windows XP) which also seems intent on limiting the changes to Regional Coding.