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.
- 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.