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I am going to clean install windows 7 upgrade version on my Thinkpad T61(currently running Windows Vista) without any bloatwares like ThinkVantage software. I am worried about the drivers. I mean what are the important drivers i should download first to get my system going after the machine is formatted.

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I found all the drivers I needed at the Lenovo site for my recent upgrade of my T61. I did a clean install of 7 Ultimate. Once I had the NIC and video drivers loaded from a USB stick, I downloaded the Lenovo maintenance package that includes the update applet. This found all other drivers and updates. The TPM driver and one other that escaped me were a pain. They appeared to install but still showed as "unknown" finally extracted package and ran manually. That did the trick. Works great now. Some of the latest updates to the tools seem improved

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I would second the recommendation to download and install the Lenovo ThinkVantage Toolbox. This will allow you to selectively install critical things like drivers and the hard drive protection services (stops the HD from spinning if dropped while it is running) and not software you would consider bloat such as Rescue and Recovery. It is also easy to keep the drivers up to date and manage the battery. –  RussellW Feb 8 '11 at 23:35
    
Can you expand on which of Lenovo's sw is critical? What would I install for a clear-cut improvement over what's available from Microsoft via Windows Update? –  BrianFinkel Jan 15 '12 at 1:55
    
@BrianFinkel Get all drivers from Lenovo. Don't use Winodws update drivers in most cases. Windows Update video drivers have caused grief more than once. Video and LAN are ones I get every time so you havea good display and connectivity. Get Thinkvantage update tool as well. It works very well and saves a great deal of time. –  Dave M Feb 25 '13 at 12:59
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I did a clean install of Windows 7 64-bit on my Thinkpad recently. Windows recognized all my hardware out of the box. Saved me the trouble of installing Lenovo bloatware. A few optional Lenovo drivers appeared in Windows Update (under optional updates), but I chose not to install them.

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It takes a little digging but lenovo has drivers on their site - IBM no longer maintains the thinkpad support and driver site - though the drivers for that specfic model seem incomplete for windows 7 but if there's a missing driver, windows update or the vista driver should do the trick. I would note that my R61 of similar vintage works perfectly with no additional drivers on windows 7, using the windows update driver

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Lenovo had posted some instructions on their website for how to do this. The page has since been deleted but an archived version is available.

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