For Windows 8, Microsoft have stepped up their game regarding Microsoft Product Activation.
There is no Code of Authenticity stating the unique 25 Digit Product Key attached to every Dell OEM Computer sold with Windows 8.
For earlier versions of Windows in particular Windows Vista and Windows 7 the quality of the COA stickers was poor and the product keys tended to fade. System Locked Preinstallation was in generally used which involved the Dell Installation Media inputting a generic 25 digit product key which automatically activated if and only if the Dell had a validated system BIOS and the correct COA attached. Despite this a number of users had a Microsoft Product Activation issue and could use the unique 25 digit product key on their COA to reactivate their product. However because of the low quality of the COA they were often unable to read the COA and so could not use their unique 25 digit product key.
For Windows 8 System Locked Preinstalled is now enhanced. The unique 25 digit product key is now embedded but hidden within the Dell BIOS and no COA label is attached. When using Windows 8 Reinstallation media this product key is automatically input and in the vast majority of cases the product is automatically activated when connected to the internet. In the rare cases where product activation fails; the unique 25 digit product key is already input which allows for Microsoft Product Activation via phone.
This made activation almost a bulletproof and also reduces piracy. It should likewise of removed hassle for Clean Installation or Repair. However Microsoft so far have failed the user by failing to provide a free direct link to a downloadable Windows 8 and Windows 8 professional .iso which can be used to repair corrupt Windows 8 installations or clean install Windows 8 according to the users preferences.
Dr Philip Yip Tech Enthusiast and Author of the Unofficial Dell Windows Reinstallation Guide