Why difference between COA/Product Key Code on case panel & Reg. # found on Hard Drive? Both are OEM

I've been given Dell PC's & the COA on Case panel is of value to me as I plan to upgrade other PC's with known good hardware. The original gifted PC's are Win. Xp OS OEM & I dumped them as no good hardware left (I kept the cases with COA).
Will I have a problem installing the Windows O.S. on the upgraded PC using a Dell OEM CD-ROM Win. XP using the case COA label info.??

Another related question: one PC is a Dell Win Me OS. I noted the case panel COA/Product Key code is different from
the Reg. # found on the Hard Drive. The HD cites an OEM reg., the case isn't OEM, so is that the COA & would be different?
I don't understand enough on this subject. Why doesn't MS just use one Reg. # info.? Is COA & Product key suppose to be different? When I install & am asked to list the Product Key I suppose I use that info. on the case label.

Yes, I have used MagicJellyBean key finder for other PC's, but that was just to verify & print the #.
Question is: do I trust the MJBean findings to be the correct one of the different  case # and the HD #??
I'm thinking of installing a larger HD & want to install the Win Me on that drive. Any probelm here??

I want to sell the upgraded PC's & want to assure the buyer that the OS is legit enough to re-install the OS.
The Win Me PC does have a legit CD-ROM.

I do know to keep the use of an install CD-ROM gender specific: Full, OEM.  

Thanks for the info. & clarification.
Who is Participating?
OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacture.
That meaning it must be with a new machine new installation.
It cannot be used as a retail full version, these xpcd can be installed on other machines so long as the COA is present ( sticker on the rear)
OEMs are manufacturers who resell another company's product under their own name and branding. While an OEM is similar to a VAR (value-added reseller), it refers specifically to the act of a company rebranding a product to its own name and offering its own warranty, support and licensing of the product.

 What is a COA label?
 A Certificate of Authenticity (COA) is a label that helps you identify genuine Microsoft software. It includes advanced anti-counterfeiting features to help you verify the authenticity of the software you acquired. COAs may also contain a barcode that is used for product tracking purposes.
Please retain the COA label. A COA label should always accompany the product that it is associated with. COA labels cannot be purchased separately.
For more information about COAs, view the Certificate of Authenticity page
My understanding is that the Dell COA is authorized and legal only for the original motherboard that it was sold with.  Period.
jamesg1940Author Commented:
OK, thanks for the claification on the issue of "legit" status. I wasn't aware of the specificity re. MOBO.
How absurd. No wonder Gates is so rich. I doubt MS will sue me over a crappy PIII PC re-build.
There's no blood in this stone.

I'd not even bother with MS & this situation as I've been installing Linspire (Linux),
but the newbies don't want to learn anything other than how to surf virus sites
& they want MS.
I have MS on my primary PC, as it's the best, but not all users have $ for the best.
Free Tool: ZipGrep

ZipGrep is a utility that can list and search zip (.war, .ear, .jar, etc) archives for text patterns, without the need to extract the archive's contents.

One of a set of tools we're offering as a way to say thank you for being a part of the community.

Here's another reference about Certificate of Authenticity:


Retail (not OEM) licenses of XP can of course be transferred to a new pc.
Will I have a problem installing the Windows O.S. on the upgraded PC using a Dell OEM CD-ROM Win. XP using the case COA label info.??

Probably.  The Dell OEM CD-ROM install setup will probably check the BIOS for a Dell key.  If it doesn't find it, it won't install.  If you've change motherboards then it won't go.

Been down this way before.
Oh and and trying an authentic XP retail CD and using the Dell serial number probably won't work either.
The reason is that DEL have their own specific drivers designed to suit individual mainboards.
It is all about money and keeping their brands separate from MS.
You can however buy a new xpcd full retail version and format the DEL hdd and then perform a clean install no worries.
This what separates the brand names desktop computers (OEM) to just computers no BRAND name.
 I built mine for this reason. It's just a desktop computer.
Brand Names such DEL, Compaque, HP. To name a couple all of these have the OEM xpcd which is really just a recovery xcd.. If you look at the mainbord lol it has DEL ram DEL HDD.
 DEL name on all components.

jamesg1940Author Commented:
Thank you all.
I found the links to MS helpful. Yes, I could've spent more time
searching the MS site. I tried but didn't drill down to the page with
pics of COA labels, etc.

I found that:
tried to install Win Me Dell re-install to a Dell with Win 98; result was
notice to upgrade instead, so no install. Formatted the drive & then no problem:
tried to install Win Me to a HD without Windows & install went just fine,
so to all the "Purists", it is possible to install to a different MOBO. I used
the Key Code off of a donated case. -:)

I now plan to re-cycle Win Xp Home (have a Dell re-install cd) Full to PC;
have done this before with no problem, so same goes for the "Purists"
with no, no don't even try it (buy a $85. new install, so forth).
These OS were paid for by a friend & are a gift to me. They will be used by
low income Families, too poor to get a "Purist" PC for their student kids.


Nice one Jim. Glad to be of assistance and help you achieve some good deeds for the low income.
Regards Merete
jamesg1940Author Commented:
Thank you Merete for info. & being just as generous as Bill Gates:
help the Users, who can't afford Vista. Bill is doing good deeds now,
a little late.
You Eperts are really on the "Front Lines" of assistance.
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