Recovering without Recovery CDs
Information about recovering the preloaded OS without any Recovery CD.
Coverage of this approach
You can't download preinstalled commercial applications from the IBM website (only updates are provided). Commercial software known to be preinstalled is CD/DVD burning and DVD playback software and Norton AntiVirus. On the other hand, this approach doesn't restore the original setup, but gives you a system with the lates drivers and tools from IBM, that might work even better than the originally installed one.
preinstalled Windows versions and their keys
Windows 98 specific stuff
Windows ME specific stuff
Windows 2000 specific stuff
Preinstalled Windows XP versions usually have an OEM key that does not work with a boxed Windows XP. You will have to use the key that comes with the box instead.
Get drivers by entering your model into the appropriate fields on IBMs Downloads and drivers page.
The easiest way to install drivers after the system installation is through the Software Installer. It is available from the Lenovo support pages. To use it, you will need to connect your freshly setup ThinkPad to the internet.
So you should care about having any means of a network driver at hand for the Windows system you are installing on the ThinkPad. So, connect a second machine to the net and download the Software Installer and a network driver for your particular network card. Network drivers are available from the Lenovo support pages as well.
Once you installed the Software Installer, run it and follow the process. It might happen that the Software Installer doesn't install all drivers available for your ThinkPad model. To make sure you have everything check IBMs Downloads and drivers page for your model.