Well first off there is no difference with hardware with Laptops vs Desktops. Laptops can offer the SAME components, just in a smaller, more compact version.
Now, to answer your question - it depends what OS you are trying to install. XP does NOT require a boot disk. You can format and create/delete partitions with just the XP disc. Anything from Windows ME and below WILL need a bootdisk, to format the HDD.
Let me know what OS you are trying to install and I can help you further.
Intel Q9400 | Gigabyte EP45-UD3P | G.Skill 2x2GB DDR2 1000 | XFX HD5870
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