Restoring a T42 ThinkPad to Factory Defaults

My three year old IBM ThinkPad (before it was Lenovo) has been running slow lately, taking upwards of 5 minutes to boot up. So I decided to restore it to factory defaults. The ThinkPad keeps a separate copy of the original installation files on a separate hard disk partition. That’s convenient for me since I always seem to lose those startup disks. Here’s what I did to restore my machine:

0) Saved all the files I cared about.

This was mainly stuff in My Documents. I didn’t save my emails, but I could have downloaded my Outlook email to a .pst. (When I was at Stanford, I had a copy of each of my email sent to a gmail account for my records.) Oh… yes, and apparently you can save your IBM Access Connections profiles. I didn’t do this, and will now need to jump through a bunch of hoops to get my wireless working.

1) Pressed the blue Access IBM button (top of the keyboard) on startup, when I rebooted my laptop. This put me into a special IBM Recover/Restore mode.

The IBM Recover/Restore mode is pretty useful. I’ve never seen it before. It would let me restore from a previous backup, of which I had none (doh!). I could look up the warranty information (it launched a website, but never really came up with any useful information).

2) Selected Restore Factory Default.

It prompted me to save any files I wanted (which I had already done in step 0), and I selected no. I agreed to all of the user agreement policies. It rebooted and reinstalled everything. This took about an hour, because it included a bunch of IBM specific configuration.

3) Ran through the typical Windows XP installation rigmarole.

This includes setting up the user accounts and updating windows.

4) Installed the typical software: Firefox, anti-virus software (it came back with Norton 2004, with a 3-month of free protection… I un-installed this and reinstalled a full version), MS Office.

5) Ran an Access IBM backup, so I could skip steps 3 & 4 next time.

Overall it was relatively pain free. What I liked:

  • Didn’t have to go find my Microsoft Windows CD
  • Didn’t have to enter any license keys
  • A bunch of applications, most notably InterVideo WinDVD, were already installed
  • All of the drivers were already there and worked.

Annoyances:

  • Forgetting to download my IBM Access Connections profile. What a pain!
  • Still needed the CDs/ISO files for MS Office
  • IBM tools really do take up a bunch of resources. It boots up faster, but I still see stuff like ucgather.exe as some of the top CPU users in the Windows Task Manager.

Overall, I found it a lot more convenient, faster, and my successful than rebuilding my Dell workstation.

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5 Responses to “Restoring a T42 ThinkPad to Factory Defaults”

  1. Free Windows Update » Restoring a T42 ThinkPad to Factory Defaults says:

    [...] admin wrote an interesting post today on Restoring a T42 ThinkPad to Factory DefaultsHere’s a quick excerpt5) Ran an Access IBM update, so I could skip steps 3 & 4 next time. Overall it was relatively pain free. What I liked:. Didn’t have to go find my Microsoft Windows CD; Didn’t have to enter any license keys; A bunch of applications, … [...]

  2. Microsoft Windows Update » Restoring a T42 ThinkPad to Factory Defaults says:

    [...] admin wrote an interesting post today on Restoring a T42 ThinkPad to Factory DefaultsHere’s a quick excerpt5) Ran an Access IBM update, so I could skip steps 3 & 4 next time. Overall it was relatively pain free. What I liked:. Didn’t have to go find my Microsoft Windows CD; Didn’t have to enter any license keys; A bunch of applications, … [...]

  3. Andrew says:

    Hi,

    I have a T42 and my daughter just locked the keyboard. I have no idea how to unlock it. If you know how to do this I would totally appreciate the help. Thanks!

  4. Drew says:

    I performed a recovery to factory defaults, and my prior system conflicts seem resolved. I may have forgotten to back up some data, though, and was wondering if there was any chance that the data still exists somewhere on the hard drive. Do you know if this recovery completely erases and reformats the hard drive?

  5. Hi, just browsing for information for my Lenovo website. Can’t believe the amount of information out there. Looking for something else, but cool site. Have a nice day.

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