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