Dell Restore Discs and Dell PC's - Product Key Need Issue

By johnathonpd ·
I've checked many posts on the Dell forums regarding this issue and most of the replies said, "Genuine Dell Restore Disc loaded from CD on Genuine Dell PC - No Product Key Needed."

When I asked about this, I got a conflicting response. I have two used Dell PC's. One of them came with WinXP Pro installed, but a product key sticker for Win2000 Pro, but the seller gave me a "Dell XP Professional Restore CD" that they evidently got to install just fine without a product key.

The response I got was that I couldn't use the Dell XP Pro Restore CD on my other Dell PC that has XP Home Edition installed on it, which may just be the difference between Home and Pro.

Can I install Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 from a geninue Dell Restore Disc onto my Dell PC that has XP Home Edition installed and product key sticker for XP Home?

It is my understanding that the DELL BIOS has a embedded product key (of sorts) within it, so re-installing OS on a Dell with a Dell Restore CD does NOT require entry of any product key.

Can someone clarify the limitations of this issue?


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Product key needs to match machine and OS version

by seanferd In reply to Dell Restore Discs and De ...

If you have a retail copy of an OS, you can install it on any of them, with its own product key.

In the case of the "seller" from which you received the system: He either bought the appropriate disks from Dell*, or has used a hack that actually infringes on the product licensing.

*For instance, I have a used computer that was stickered for Vista, but the original owner ordered it with XP. Came with XP disks.

If the person got the XP upgrade sometime after purchase (maybe after XP RTM?), he could have a legitmate OEM installation of XP, but of course, the sticker still says Win 2000.

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Where did you get that information?

by johnathonpd In reply to Product key needs to matc ...

I would be curious to know the source of your statement regarding, "Product key needs to match machine and OS version?"

For most brands of computers that statement IS true, but Dell is unique in that regard, because (per Dell website/support) Dell encodes a generic or default MS product key in their BIOS. This is why you need NOT enter the product key when reinstalling OS, if you boot from the Restore CD. The product key is mostly there to show that Dell has purchased a MS OS license, because it also includes a COA (Certificate of Authenticity).

Another fact regarding Dell and the reason no product key is needed for any reinstalls, is that Dell encodes a generic or standard MS product key into the DELL BIOS. Also, Dell uses generic restore discs for the OS, NOT the machine. One disc for XP, one for Vista, one for Win2000 Pro, and one for XP MCE.

I validated the authenticity of the MS OS on my Dell that was upgraded (before I puchased it used) with a generic Dell restore disc for "Dell XP Professional Restore CD."

Dell PC's all come with at least two disc and the only one of them is for a particular model number or device specific and that is the resource disc. The resource disc contains the individual drivers for your PC's particular elements.

Check the Dell website for swpport documentation as well as numerous forum postings from users who THOUGHT they would have to enter a product key for a reinstall of OS, but they DID NOT.

If you have a source for your argument and statement, please share.


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RE: Dell encodes a generic or default MS product key in their BIOS

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to Where did you get that in ...

That may be what Dell claim but the reality is that Dell Slipstream their Recovery Disc's and include the Product Key at that level not at the BIOS Level.

What Dell actually do do is to include a subroutine to look at the BIOS to see if it can install on that particular Hardware nothing more no matter what they may like to claim.

As for your question

Where did you get that information?

I would be curious to know the source of your statement regarding, "Product key needs to match machine and OS version?"

That comes directly from the M$ Licensing and a breach of that with the exception of New Computers ordered with different OS's to what they sell with is the only exception.

Even then places like Dell Charge Extra to install a different OS so for instance if you bought a new computer today and wanted XP loaded you would pay for a Upgrade to Vista Business and then Dell would supply it installed with XP as Vista Business has a Backward License and the lower versions do not.


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