Using a Dell OEM Installation Disc on another Dell

I have two Inspiron 6000 notebooks.  I have the Dell XP Pro Reinstallation disc for only one of the notebooks.  I know that the cd from notebook 1 will work on the notebook 2 but it never asks to enter in the product key for XP Pro.  I believe that uses the product key from notebook 1 automatically.  How can I get it to use the product key from notebook 2?


csimmons1324IT ManagerAsked:
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So if I understand you correctly that when you run a clean install on notebook 1 it never asks you for a product key, it would mean they've most probably specified the product key in an answer file so it does it automatically.

What i'd do in that case, is run the same install on notebook 2...when the installation has finished, go to start -> run and enter the following command:

%systemroot%\system32\oobe\msoobe.exe /a

This brings up the product activation program.

If you then select "Yes, I want to telephone a customer service representative to activate Windows" and then click "change product key"

You can change to your valid key there and click 'update' to complete the change.

Hope that helps :-)


You don't have to do anything.
Large OEMs like Dell use something called OEM Preactivation.
OEM Pre-actiavtion does not actually use key from the label on the laptop. It uses a special key given to Dell for this purpose since their OEM discs only work with their hardware, Microsoft allows them to do this. (they do not make a different cd for each computer they make).

zephyr_hex (Megan)DeveloperCommented:
i concur with kenneniah.  i have used a dell oem disc on one computer that was from another computer.  no issues with OS validation... able to do windows updates without problems.
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Joseph OLoughlinIT Support SpecialistCommented:
While Kenneniah and Zephyr were correct post SP2 it's less likely that the OEM disks will prevent the requirement for activation with a unique licence
csimmons1324IT ManagerAuthor Commented:
This is within a corporate environment so I need to make sure everything is on the up and up.  As a few people stated, I don't need to do anything.  However, if I don't do anything I will end up with two PCs having the same Product Key.  Although I have two legal licenses, as proven by the OEM Microsoft Windows XP sticker on the Dell machines, I would still like to avoid having two Windows boxes running with the same product key.


Read here....
Basically to preserve OEM Pre-activation, you do use the same key.
The Microsoft article itself a little how this works and how to preserve that activation by using the key at that link.
But basically, pre-activated OEM computers ALL use the same key.

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