I have, for most of my professional life, worked with Dell computers. [..]
I am very disappointed.
Getting any OS DVD that is not a Dell Window 7 DVD to install Windows will not allow Windows 7 to activate.
Or said another way, any product key that has OA --- which this PC most likely has --- which you plan on using to activate Windows 7 requires a Dell Windows 7 Home Premium DVD.
I suggest that you use one of the free product key retrieval software to retrieve the Windows 7 Home Premium key from the current laptop before you do anything drastic.
I don't see why this wouldn't work. I can install a non-branded Windows DVD on any Dell, can't I? If I have the product key...
I have the product key, it's on a label on the bottom of the computer. So I don't have to retrieve it in any way.
You're not getting the point here. I am the legal owner of a computer with a legal Windows 7 label on it. I want to re-install Windows 7 on a blank HD, but while Win7 is still supported by MS, Dell doesn't want to give me an ISO to do a clean and legal re-install. What am I supposed to do? I am trying not to do anything drastic. I don't want a physical DVD either. Just a file. But I do want to re-install this computer with Windows 7. What are my options?