Re-installing XP on a Lenovo ThinkPad

A little over a year ago, I purchased a Lenovo ThinkPad that came preloaded with Windows XP Pro. And a bunch of crapware, of course. Lenovo does not provide you with a Windows reinstallation CD, though, and forces you to burn your own reinstallation CD. I believe Lenovo has the Windows binaries tucked away on a hidden hard drive partition.

I now desperately need to reinstall Windows, but am not confident (i) that Lenovo's system will actually allow me to burn Windows CDs, (ii) how "clean" a version of XP the system-derived CDs would provide, given how much crapware the Lenovo came preloaded with. I'd like to start with the "cleanest" version of XP possible. My questions:

(1) How "clean" is the XP from Lenovo's burn-it-from-your-system CD?

(2) What is the deal with the OEM system-builder versions of XP that are
available from newegg/tigerdirect? They come with CD media, right?

(3) I've heard that OEM system-builder versions are "single install"
only. Meaning I can only install XP once with a system-builder
XP product key? Or does it just mean that I can only install on
one computer?

(4) If I buy the OEM system-builder version, can I use the XP product
key that appears on the official Microsoft sticker on my laptop?
Would this original product key allow me to get multiple reinstalls
out of the OEM system-builder CDs?

(5) Is there somewhere on the Microsoft website that I can download ISO
images to burn my own Windows re-installation CDs? And just use my
original XP product key from the Microsoft sticker?

PLEASE NOTE that I **cannot* install Windows 7 before the end of this semester. My school's IT department insists that our final exam software is not compatible with Windows 7. Sorry for all the questions. It's just really frustrating to "own" a copy of Windows XP, but not really own it.
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  1. I guess my real question is this:

    If I don't want to use Lenovo's burn-from-system XP CD image, where can I get a legit Windows XP CD image?

    I want to have some confidence in the origin/integrity of the CD image, so I'm a bit nervous about downloading from a Torrent site or the like.

    Does Microsoft make ISO images available for download somewhere? What is the cheapest way to get official CD media?
  2. i can answer some questions.

    you can buy a legit copy of windows from any legit windows authorized computer store. however:

    as you mentioned, the oem version will be good for just one burn.

    the copy of windows should come with a product key. that's the product key you should use. not the one on your computer.

    but...i tried that. and so far, i have had no luck. i posted in this forum. windows install doesn't complete. xp sp3. doesn't download everything. it won't copy certain files. says it can't read them. then, won't complete the install.

    when i tried to install, i saw a "C:" & "D:" partition. the 2nd partition was small. my guess is the rescue CD & version of windows is on the 2nd partition. hidden from view.
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