Typically each system has a unique 25 digit product key on its COA which is that systems license or right to run that particular version of Windows. This Product Key is usually present as a backup for Microsoft Product Activation in some rare cases and in general System Locked Preinstallation is used.
You may have noticed that the product key you obtained from your Dell System after Clean Installation with a Windows 7 Reinstallation DVD or at Factory Settings is not the same as the unique 25 digit product key affixed to your system via its Code of Authenticity. This is because for Windows 7 OEMs such as Dell use system locked preinstallation (SLP) keys.
The installation media inputs these keys and automatically activates Windows 7 if and only if a valid system BIOS is detected. In the case of the keys listed, a valid Dell BIOS is required with the correct attached COA.
The reason for SLP Activation was to prevent the need for Dell and every Dell user from calling Microsoft to Activate or Reactivate their Windows Product.
Instructions on using the Activation Files
Two activation files for each version of Windows are listed:
These activation files were taken from Clean Installs or Factory Settings of Dell Systems using the Activation Backup and Recovery Program and may be used to restore the Dell OEM Product Activation when used in conjunction with the ABR-beta Program (ensure that the beta version of ABR is used as its Windows 7 Compatible).
Once an OEM product is installed it rarely needs re-activated but in some cases it does and this can be problematic if the COA has faded. Dell acknowledged the problem of faded COAs for later Windows 7 models and starting placing the COA under the battery of laptops or inside the computer cover of Desktops to protect it. These files may be used to restore the OEM product activation in such cases without complete restoration of the factory settings or clean installation using a Dell Reinstallation DVD.
They will only work on Dell systems with a valid Dell BIOS and attached Code of Authenticity.
Windows Reinstallation Guide/A Clean Install of Windows 7 Step 1b will instruct you how to prepare Windows 7 Installation Media. To install other versions of Windows 7 not listed on the Digital River downloads remove the ei.cfg file from your bootable USB as instructed.
Step 11b will instruct you in their use for recovering your OEM Microsoft Product Activation using the ABR Program.