Create your Virtual machine on another system and save the image on to the HDD on the laptop.
Create also a bootable USB stick containing a LINUX system which has vmware or vbox installed.
Linux will run from a USB device quite easily unlike Windows.
You can boot from a USB device on most thinkpads just press the BLUE BAR near the on off switch when you start the system as this will give you the BIOS boot menu.
Now when you start the vmware program use the OS virtual image you have created to access your virtual machine.
Note that your Virtual Machine image will run without change on Linux or Windows so you can run this image on as many different physical systems as you like.
Look at this link to get you started http://www.pendrivelinux.com/univers...easy-as-1-2-3/
Once you've got the hang of this you can build your own Linux disrto -- I like OPENSUSE but there are loads of choices.
Install your required applications such as vmware or vbox and then create the USB system.
It should EASILY fit on a 4GB USB stick.
Here's how to do it for UBUNTU - another popular distro. http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/linux...-the-easy-way/
Now you've got a perfect way of booting an OS and then starting your Virtual Machine on ANY computer.
Note BTW that YOU CAN RUN a 64 bit Virtual OS from a 32 BIT HOST OS so you don't have to install the 64 bit version of the Linux distro. You might want to create a 32 BIT Linux distro so you can run it on MORE machines and have Windows 7 X64 and Windows 7 X86 Virtual machine images.
To run a 64 bit Virtual machine on a 32 BIT HOST OS the HOST hardware will need to have the Virtualisation feature in the BIOS enabled.
Doing this is actually a lot of fun as well as providing a useful OS -- you can of course add Backup software and partitioning software to your USB OS too.
Added -- This link is probably the most up to date and the easiest to follow http://www.linuxliveusb.com/en.html