How to Reinstall Windows on Your Lenovo ThinkPad

by Jeff Grundy

One day, you are watching online videos or crunching numbers with your Lenovo ThinkPad, and the next, applications do not open, you cannot surf the Web and Windows is just not running the way it should. There are many reasons this can happen. Viruses, malware or just poorly written programs are all possible candidates. Regardless of the reason, however, sometimes just starting over is the only reasonable solution. If your Lenovo ThinkPad laptop is not running the way it should, reinstalling Windows and restoring the machine to factory defaults might help.

Connect the AC power adapter to the Lenovo ThinkPad and power it on. Once the laptop boots into Windows, connect the flash drive or external hard drive to an empty USB port. Wait for Windows to detect the external device and configure it as a storage device. Back up documents, photos and other important file to the flash drive or external hard drive.

Disconnect the USB flash drive or external hard drive after backing up your important user files. Shut down the laptop and power it back on. As soon as you see the Lenovo logo screen, press the "ThinkPad" button on the keyboard.

Press the "down-arrow key" until you position the cursor over the "ThinkPad Product Recovery Program" menu option. Press "Enter."

Wait for the "ThinkPad Recovery Menu" to appear on the laptop screen, and then press "F11." The recovery and restore utility for the laptop starts.

Click the "Yes" button or press "Enter" when prompted to confirm the restore process. Restoring the ThinkPad erases all user-created data on the laptop and restores the original software and settings. Some models prompt you twice to ensure that you understand all data on the laptop will be erased. Press "Enter" or click "Yes" if prompted a second time.

Wait for the restore utility to format the Windows partition and reinstall the original software on the ThinkPad laptop. Press a key on the keyboard when prompted to restart the laptop.

Follow the prompts to personalize the Windows installation and continue booting into Windows.

Reconnect the USB flash drive or external hard drive to the computer. Copy the backed-up data back to the laptop.

Install other third-party programs as needed.


  • close Never attempt to restore your Lenovo ThinkPad without connecting the AC power adapter. If the battery dies during the recovery, the restore process will fail and the hidden recovery partition might suffer permanent damage.

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About the Author

Jeff Grundy has been writing computer-related articles and tutorials since 1995. Since that time, Grundy has written many guides to using various applications that are published on numerous how-to and tutorial sites. Born and raised in South Georgia, Grundy holds a Master of Science degree in mathematics from the Georgia Institute of Technology.