I am fixing a Windows 8 laptop for a client. It's an Inspiron 3521. I can't find the Windows 8 product key, but according to this link:
The windows 8 key will be provided by the BIOS upon installing Windows 8. Is this true?. Another question too. I have a "any version" Windows 8 install disc I got from the Microsoft website.
I am wondering if I could use it to install Windows 8 on this laptop, as I don't have the system discs that your supposed to burn when you get the laptop brand new, the client gave me nothing. Thanks in advance.
Factory-installed Windows 8 computers differ from previous versions of Windows. Previously, the Product Key for Windows was attached as a label on the computer so that, in the event that the computer required reinstallation, the key could be referenced for activation.
For Windows 8, the Product Key is "injected" onto the computer motherboard at the factory, and the installation and activation processes refer to the BIOS of the computer to verify authenticity and activate Windows. No Windows Product Key is otherwise provided or needed by the customer.
You cannot use a copy of WIndows other than from Dell to do the install - it won't pick up the embedded key. If you choose to use a different copy of Windows, you will need to inform your customer that he or she will need to purchase a new license code (or contact Dell for the recovery disc).
You can install only the specific edition of WIndows 8 that is present in the laptop. However, you can use any of the installation source. If you have the correct version of Windows 8 installation media, you can start the installation and the installer will take the product key from BIOS.
For example, if the laptop shipped with Windows 8 and you try to install Windows 8 Pro (or vice versa), you will see an error message stating "The product key entered does not match any of the Windows images available for installation. Enter a different product key.", automatically. Therefore, be sure to check the edition before installing.
Kindly note that the product key is same for both 32-bit and 64-bit release.
As long you are using an installation image that matches the license and version, it WILL read the product key from the BIOS - Dell-specific media is NOT required (tested with retail/MSDN media). If it is for a different version (home vs. Pro) or level (8.0 vs. 8.1, etc.), then it will ask for a key during the installation. If for whatever reason it doesn't read the key, you can get around this too by entering a generic/KMS key, which will not activate, but will get you past the prompt. You can also use RWEverything (ACPI, MSDM tab) to read the actual key from the BIOS.