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Serial Port
Posts: 18
Registered: ‎12-11-2007
Location: Oregon
Views: 16,741
Message 1 of 14

Base Software Installation Guide?

Hi all,

My new T61 comes in a couple weeks and I am looking for a guide to doing a base installation.  I understand that it is possible to load a configuration without certain applications (Norton, AOL, Earthlink etc).  I would rather not uninstall these apps or do a clean OS install. 

Is there a handy guide for base installtion anywhere?


Serial Port
Posts: 15
Registered: ‎12-11-2007
Location: Middlebury, VT
Views: 16,727
Message 2 of 14

Re: Base Software Installation Guide?

Hi Etheidon,
There are differing opinions on base software configs for ThinkPads. You'll see a lot of informed discussion at
but the details can get a little numbing.
The Base Software Administrator app that you can download here
will enable you to jettison some of the ballast from the preloaded configuration.
BSA requires that you leave the secure predesktop area / partition intact for the time being, and puts an installation manifest file into the partition, telling Rescue and Recovery what your particular installation should include from the stock of OEM offerings in the partition whenever you do a "recover to factory configuration." The BSA help file makes using this process very straightforward. You save mods to the installation manifest, then you insert either the Reinstallation/Recovery DVDs you've already requested by phone from Lenovo (do so now!), or the DVDs you've burned when you got the ThinkPad -- and with that, you begin to reinstall the whole system from scratch, which takes 2-3 hours. The end result, if it's worth it to you, is a more streamlined OEM footprint on your ThinkPad.
We could make things a little uncomfortable for the forum moderators, with me telling you what not to install, but instead, let me tell you what, at least in my admittedly inexpert attempts to decipher OEMese, seems to be necessary that you install. If a moderator can grab someone from the tech desk, we might get some more informed answers....
- Access Help
[This is the main help file for the ThinkPad. There's a different app that you can ditch, called the Help Center. It's fluff.]
- Diskkeeper
[A defragger -- which Vista already includes. Lots of people have gripes about this. I have trouble getting it to start after a custom install (continually needing to hit "repair" under add/remove programs). The only reason you may want to have this is that it provides a disk fragmentation map, which Vista does not. You can get that sort of thing elsewhere.]
- Maintenance Manager
[Core ThinkVantage utility.]
- PC Doctor for Windows PE & for Windows
[There were serious problems caused last year by the early installer for version 5, but they seem to have been resolved, and it has some helpful diagnostics.]
- Rescue and Recovery
[The love-to-hate safeguard for your OEM-configured OS.]
- RnR 4.0 language TVT patches 1,2,3
[May be fluff, but could also be patches to the language used in logfile output -- better safe than sorry]
- SPP module & SPP utility to install PDA driver patch
[These two are core networking protocol installs]
- SUN Java Runtime Environment
[You need this, but download it from the Sun site, rather than with the OEM pre-load, because it'll be the most recent version. You'll just want to uninstall this thing.]
- Symantec Virus Scanner for Win PE & Norton
[Depending on what antivirus pack you want to install, you may or may not want to keep these]
- System Migration Assistant
[Vista has Easy Transfer; not sure of the advantages of SMA, but could be better at keeping ThinkVantage preferences intact. You'll need this if you ever more from x86 to x64 Vista.]
- Think Multimedia (RecordNow+DLA) by Sonic
[A very handy set of disk burners]
- ThinkPad Mobility Center Customization
[A few occasionally helpful interface tweaks.]
- ThinkPad 3rd Party TPC_TPA DLL
[This is for third-party trusted system/software interactions]
- ThinkVantage Productivity Center
[Core ThinkVantage app.]
- ThinkVantage System Update
[Useful for clean installs and for keeping your drivers updated. Some people have said that the Lenovo Driver Matrix page for your model number, and a faster downloader, like GigaGet, are more efficient, if you have the patience, which has a certain irony to it.]
- Time Stamp 2
- TVT Welcome Message Applet
[No earthly idea what this corresponds to in the GUI. I'm wary of uninstalling things with acronyms, however innocuous they sound.]
- VC redistributes
[I may be mistaken, but this may have to do with MS bugchecking; either that, or it's a set of templates to make disk labels that Roxio provides.]
- Vista Help & Support - Think
- Vista OOBE First Run, OOBE Customization & Vista-Lenovo Welcome
[May be part of the standard Vista install -- not sure. OOBE means "out of the box environment," and could if that is the case, involve some basic configuration & registration executables, as well as the Vista "Welcome Center." The Vista-OOBE Offer is a little more suspect -- there's a great deal of Lenovo advertisement when starting up a ThinkPad for the first time, and my hunch is that this file is involved.]
- Vista-Performance Manager Screen
- Vista Screen Resolution
- WinDVD for Blu-Ray
[These versions of WinDVD won't be installed if you don't have a Blu-Ray drive, AFAIK]
- Keep everything. As for the suspect ones:
- MS Office Referral Tracking Code
[Since it was an OS patch, it might be necessary to ensure that product authorization goes smoothly. I left it, but it's your call.]
- Keep everything. As to the suspect ones:
- Connexant Audio Features
[As far as I've been able to determine, this may be a modem driver.]
- ThinkPad Video Features (Crestline)
[Apparently from Intel, or used by Intel]
- ThinkPad Wireless WAN - EVDO & HSDPA
[These are drivers, but won't be installed if you don't have a WWAN card installed.]
Apropos of the Java Runtime comment above, it should be pointed out that System Update or some other ThinkVantage utility winds up installing Microsoft .NET framework 1.1, which is a very bad thing. Vista has all of the .NET it needs built in, and 1.1 is known for having uninstall issues with the "1.1 patch" that Windows Update tries to install. (Set Windows Update to let you approve any hotfixes it wants to install, so that you catch this puppy.) If you wish, you can try uninstalling the thing, with no adverse consquences that I've seen. And if you can't, then you can use the .NET cleanup utility that Aaron Stebner of MSDN has provided, here:
As far as other cleanup...
People will tell you that in the System Update "sessions" subfolder, all of the subfolders that begin with a numeral (with password-like names) can be ditched. They're the wrappers lying around your ThinkPad from SU downloads. Why SU has this annoying habit of not cleaning up after itself, we haven't heard.
Also, I've found that every OEM app has continued to work except Productivity Center if you delete all of the non-English language files. (Run searches for the following English codes: EN, US, ENG, ENU, 1033 and 0409. Wherever you find these codes inside the Lenovo SWTOOLS folder and so on, you can delete the corresponding files with different letters or numbers. If you see any SXS files, leave them alone!) This is time-consuming. It saves you total perhaps 250MB if you do the custom install above.
Also, in case you get ambitious about uninstalling and deleting stuff, keep the deletions in the Recycle Bin, and test each app by opening it, before you make the deletions permanent. Worst case, you'll be back at the Lenovo site, downloading & installing the file again.
See the Thinkpads forum for more tips.
Have a great time in your new sandbox!

Message Edited by aka on 12-12-2007 03:06 PM

Message Edited by aka on 12-13-2007 01:40 PM
Serial Port
Posts: 18
Registered: ‎12-11-2007
Location: Oregon
Views: 16,719
Message 3 of 14

Re: Base Software Installation Guide?

Wow thanks for this explanation.  It is very helpful.

Have you tried doing the base software install during bootup?  (After resetting the thinkpad, press the blue thinkvantage button, then launching R&R base configuration)?  It seems like this would be an easier way than creating a manifest.

Also,  I'm trying to decide if its better to do a base software confuruation, or just uninstall the applications I don't need.


Serial Port
Posts: 15
Registered: ‎12-11-2007
Location: Middlebury, VT
Views: 16,715
Message 4 of 14

Re: Base Software Installation Guide?

Good question. I haven't tried it.
When you turn on the TP for the first time out of the box, there's a lot of command-line work being displayed, and it takes a little while for Vista to turn on. All of that is a bit of a mystery -- I don't know if the ThinkPad OEM has a special way of waking Vista up, or whether this is normal Vista behavior.
So, an uneducated guess would be that there's a small risk of harming the install if you interrupt it while it's waking up the first time. Vista can be pretty persnickety. This just reinforces the point about ordering the recovery DVDs from Lenovo before your shipment arrives.
If have disks in hand, you can give it a shot. Odds are, what you'll get is Rescue & Recovery, which gives you a "restore to factory configuration" option. And you'll be looking for a "Custom restore" box to tick. That will bring up a fairly good manifest of OEM preloads that you can begin to untick and eliminate from the install. But the thing that you'll find by using Base Software Administrator is that most of the opt-outs are still hidden in this mode. They can be revealed using BSA. I wish I knew how much disk space this will save you. It'll waste 3 hours of your time going the BSA route, but according to your prefs, it might be worth it.
Word to the wise: Don't insert the recovery disks at any point short of total boot failure. In for an inch, in for a mile -- a full rebuild, with no turning back, and no customization options. If you interrupt the rebuild process (Ak! I didn't mean that!), the system will have incinerated its own boot configuration by then, and you'll have to do a full rebuild from the disks regardless. The point about the disks is to keep them handy, in case you can't even boot....
And while we're on the subject of recovering from boot configuration meltdowns, it's still somewhat confusing how you get your boot sector repaired. Here's where we need a techie. On normal Vista discs from MS, you have an option of doing a boot repair. Here, for instance, is a Vista Repair Disc image that you can download from Neosmart software's site:
But I've also read that the configuration of the secure/hidden predesktop area/partition that Rescue & Recovery works from will get nuked if you use this method. An alternative you could try is IBM's Master Boot Record Repair Kit:
I have no experience with either utility. My Vista boot sector has died twice -- after I removed the Recovery partition -- but oddly, has been very stable since I customized the OEM install and left the Recovery partition intact. So far, I've reverted to a DVD "factory recovery" on those two occasions. Once I go x64, I won't have that predesktop recovery option, but on the other hand, the standard Vista recovery will be much less confusing.
Incidentally, you can port all of the apps that are OEM-installed to a clean-installed Vista configuration lacking the Recovery partition. All you need to do is find a guide to do a clean installation for ThinkPads -- Stallen's is quite good:
and copy the SWTOOLS folder before you do so, which has all of the app installers in it.
Here's where more input from the tech crew would be welcome....
So what do you need Rescue & Recovery for? Reportedly, when the partition is intact, it does a much faster recovery than Vista's own CompletePC does, and will let you recover individual files, which Vista's CompletePC, at least pre-SP1, will not. R&R still functions without the predesktop partition, but I don't know how fast the recovery process is then....
Paper Tape
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎09-03-2008
Location: Houston, TX
Views: 13,094
Message 5 of 14

Re: Base Software Installation Guide?

For those searching through the archives like me...


Disabling "Client Security Solution" (through the thinkpad menus) and removing Diskeeper and Norton from startup (via msconfig) dramatically improved my x61t.

It used to take over a minute to go from hibernated to the login screen, plus it spent half that time giving me a black screen.  Now it takes 25 seconds and it's always displaying something to let you know it isn't dead.

Community Moderator
Community Moderator
Posts: 3,918
Registered: ‎01-05-2008
Location: DE
Views: 13,090
Message 6 of 14

Re: Base Software Installation Guide?

Hello Etheidon,


the easiest way is, to start with blue button, then recover your system through advanced installation modus.

There you could choose the software, you want to have.


I would not install Norton, CSS, Private Disk (when you don´t need it).

The other software is rather usefull and makes your life easier!


You get, as the user above said, a fast booting system. The recovery process from R&R partition is fast and you

doesn´t have to search for drivers or booting your hdd in compatibility mode.










Message Edited by Agotthelf on 09-10-2008 10:19 AM

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Punch Card
Posts: 45
Registered: ‎04-15-2009
Location: New York, New York, USA
Views: 10,932
Message 7 of 14

ThinkVantage Keepers & Losers?

After considerable ordeal, I've just been returned my Thinkpad T61P as it was when I purchased - i.e. factory preload.  I was considering taking this opportunity to upgrade to a 64 bit OS & have read several posts here & elsewhere about "clean installs" - except that events of the recent past have persuaded me that not all ThinkVantage software can accurately be described as "bloatware" (rescue & recovery has saved my butt more than once).  Whiich leads to this little poll:


Which programs in the "ThinkVantage" & "Productivity Center" cluster do you think worth keeping (even on a lean clean machine) & which do you think a waste of space & boot time?

Token Ring
Posts: 106
Registered: ‎02-27-2008
Location: Hudson Valley, NY
Views: 10,926
Message 8 of 14

Re: ThinkVantage Keepers & Losers?

With Windows 7 64bit Microsoft integrated many of the features provided by "ThinkVantage" & "Productivity Center". I wouldn't bother with any.
lead_org Microsoft MVP Contributor
Microsoft MVP Contributor
Posts: 21,009
Registered: ‎12-19-2008
Location: Australia, Melbourne
Views: 10,916
Message 9 of 14

Re: ThinkVantage Keepers & Losers?

Easy eject, system migration assistant, productivity centre, system update retriever, access help, help center, maintenance manager. These softwares are all removed from thinkpads that i have. 

Jin Li

May this year, be the year of 'DO'!

I am a volunteer, and not a paid staff of Lenovo or Microsoft
Retired SuperMod
Retired SuperMod
Posts: 9,293
Registered: ‎11-27-2007
Location: SK
Views: 10,894
Message 10 of 14

Re: Base Software Installation Guide?

Agotthelf wrote:

Hello Etheidon,


the easiest way is, to start with blue button, then recover your system through advanced installation modus.

There you could choose the software, you want to have.

Note to all,  this feature is not available on the "newer" Vista preinstalls which have the S and Q drives.



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