My girlfriend's IBM Thinkpad (can't remember the model, but it's about 5 years old) is getting slower and slower, so I was going to wipe it and do a fresh install. However, she no longer has the restore disk.
If I were to install a vanilla copy of Windows 98 SE onto it, would that work? Or do laptops require special versions of Windows with particular drivers?
Most laptops do requre special drivers for things like graphics, disk, PCMCIA etc. They should all be downloadable from the IBM support website. Just go to the IBM UK support page, click on downloads & drivers, Select the 2 categories and enter the model number. If you are not sure what model you have for the 3rd selection it should be on the label underneath the laptop or see this page which explains where to find it.