I have an IBM T61 laptop and when i bought it, it came with an operating system that I wasn’t to fussed with. The only real benefit of having the operating system pre-install was that I could use the laptop straight out of the box. Otherwise it was really pointless exercise having it installed. Incidentally the operating system was Microsoft windows vista which is total rubbish in my opinion. All IBM laptops tend to come with an operating system installed unless you buy second hand laptops and ask the supplier to remove the software before it is shipped out to you. If you have a windows installation disk or a generic boot disk, this should let you format the hard drive and then you can install the operating system of your choice. Just a word of warning, formatting a hard drive removes all data and provides you with a blank hard disk that you can safely install an operating system of your choice on. If you are going to go down the cheap laptops route, you will be hard pressed to find someone who will un-install the operating system for you.
You will need a windows CD or DVD or some other boot disk to carry out the following. First of all you need to insert the boot disk or windows installation disk into your laptops CD drive. You then need to shut down your laptop by hitting the IBM power down button. After a few seconds switch your laptop back on and your laptop should boot straight of the disk, you may have to change the boot options in the bios to make it boot of the disk drive.
If you are booting of the windows installation disk you need to press the Esc key and this will bring up an MS—DOS command prompt screen where you can format your hard drive from. If you are using a boot disk you should be brought straight into a command prompt without hitting the ESC key.
Next you need the following without the quotes “format c: /s” and then hit the enter key to execute it. The format command will delete all information on the hard drive and the /s switch copies the system boot files to the hard drive. It should only take a few minutes to complete the format but this will depend on how large your hard drive is. Once this is done you can remove the disk from the drive and resort the laptop. A quick way of doing this is to hit the Ctrl – Alt – Delete restart key combination. You will now be able to install the operating system of your choice. Personally speaking I would choose windows XP but a window 7 is also a good choice. Stay away from Vista; it truly is a terrible piece of software. Please remember that formatting your hard drive will delete all files on your hard drive so it is advisable to back up anything you want to keep. Although it is possible to retrieve files after formatting it can be costly.