Sorry to break your bubble, but almost no laptops these days come with a Wndows CD. Manufacturers usually create a recovery partition on your hard drive for restoration purposes and they usually provide preinstalled backup software to create restore discs.
Dell will still package install media with many of their rigs. HP will as well. Others like Acer and Toshiba don't and they tend to use the recovery partitition model as mentioned a couple times in this thread.
i did that
but once it opens there is no desktop or start menu or nothing
do i understand this corrctly? when you start the laptop ther's no OS on it? where did you get that laptop from? certainly not retail;
if that's the case you'll need to buy the OS discs; my tip: unknown to many (and of course not advertised by M$ for obvious reasons), you CAN install windows fresh from upgrade media!
buy an UPGRADE disc (if you're a student your uni will usually offer those for a few $) and then install windows from that - do NOT enter the product key during the install; after the installation you will have 30 days to activate the OS, and during that time try entering the product key and try to activate online - if that does not work, then there is a (legal) way to change the registry entry (worked for me; see link below); or alternatively, call M$ hotline and they can activate it