this is the helpful information found in the manual..
"Restoring the operating system, drivers, manuals and special software
You can find information on how to restore the operating system, drivers, manuals
and special software in the "Recovery Process" manual."
of course, the question is, why haven't they put the "recovery process" manual on the hard drive with the "normal" manual. i'll see if i can find it online - maybe it exists somewhere out there in the ether.
the machine is now restored anyway. the first factory reset was taking a long time because it wasn't doing anything - that was a great time waster. thanks fujitsu.
i'm still not sure what happened. i tried to reinstall vista - which simply brought up the factory reset options when rebooting. i'm not even going to try and figure out what's going on as it's working - that's all that counts.