I have a windows 7 Dell OEM disk for my XPS15 running Home Premium x64. My question is this: a friend of mine also purchased an XPS 15z running the same OS from dell at about the same time. Can he use my disk on his machine or is it machine specific? i.e. is the disk tied to my machine or is it generic and will look for his motherboard and activate accordingly.
To be clear...we both have legitimate licenses for windows 7 Home premium x64 supplied with our dell machines, i'm simply trying to ascertain if there is any problem using the same OEM disk to reinstall windows on both.
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I understand. I had wondered if it would simply activate on his machine with his own COA. It seems from what you have said that the disk is not generic and has it's own identifier somewhere.
There is nothing wrong with it, and I believe that is what Jesse was trying to say.
The Dell disks do a BIOS check to make sure the computer is a Dell. If it is not a Dell, it will not allow you to install it. If it is a Dell, it will proceed with the installation.
Dell disks have a generic self/auto-activating product key embedded in the disk (not the BIOS), usually doing away with the need to manually enter the product key from the sticker on the side of the computer and activate ... although my experience says it will still ask for the key (for Windows 7). AS LONG AS the key is for the same version you just installed, there is no reason it wouldn't work to activate. The COA is your actual license to use the software, regardless of the key used to activate it.
For example, if you used a Dell Windows 7 Professional DVD to install on a machine with a Dell Windows 7 Home Premium Product Key, activation will fail, as the versions do not match. However, if the target computer has a Professional Product Key, then it should activate just fine. (Just a sidenote ... 32-bit and 64-bit keys are interchangeable.)
What Jesse was trying to say was that the following scenario is NOT allowed and carries substantial fines if caught: You have a new XPS15z that came with Windows 7 Home Premium, and you want to install with that disk on, say, an older Inspiron 1720 that came with Windows Vista. Because the 1720 is a Dell, the BIOS check will allow the installation, and if the auto/self-activating key works like it should, then you would have just installed Windows 7 on another system that does not have a key. THIS is not allowed.
You can also install using Retail media (media comes in three classes: Retail, OEM (Dell, HP, etc.), and Volume License), by getting the installation media from Microsoft's online partner, Digital River:
You will have to activate by phone (2 minutes, easy, automated call), but it works.
Yes...this makes sense now. This is what I had been expecting, since we both have Dells purchased around the same time and both have valid Windows 7 x64 Home Premium COAs/Keys I guessed we could use the same OEM disk. I was just trying to make sure we wouldn't run into problems with activation on his machine i.e. that the disk was specific to me. I asked the question because when I used it on my machine I was never asked for the Key and it activated automatically (I guess for the reason you have mentioned theflash1932).
Either way, he has just requested his own OS disk (which in my opinion should be packaged with all machines anyway) so he can use that when it arrives. We were just trying to avoid the delay in waiting.
Even if it activates automatically, as the COA is your license/right to use the software, the key actually used to activate is not important. In theory, it is possible that if you retreived the product key used activate two machines built at the factory, that both may have been activated with the same generic keys. With auto-activation, it is easy to misuse this feature and install it on a system without a valid COA/license key. Even if it were a problem, Windows 7 makes it very easy (XP was almost impossible) to change the Product Key.
Anyway ... sounds like you have things under control
I haven't seen a Dell windows installation fail a bios check since Windows 2000. Maybe I'm just missing things. But I've used HP oem CDs and Dell oem CDs to install windows on other computers that have valid oem license stickers. They do usually toss up a warning saying the product key was invalid but upon entering the key from the case it activates.
Sometimes you're stuck with a computer with a completely dead HD from a company that does not supply media and you've got no choice. I do know there's at least one Sony Vaio out there that displays a Dell logo when pulling up the computer properties