installing and activating Windows 7

I need to install W7 to a dell that previously had XP as a downgrade to Vista.
I need to install W7, but discovered that I'd have to order it. My problem is that I need to install and get this machine up and running quickly.
I will purchase W7 and license it, but I was wondering if I can install from a W7 OEM disk, or use a Dell W7 disk and then apply the product ID once I receive it.

In the past I've been able to install an OS that didn't come with a particular Dell computer, but activation was required. What I mean is on that particular model pc, the particular OS wasn't made available to it. However, if a Dell model was released with that OS you could install from your Dell Disk and wouldn't t even need to activate it

So I"m wondering if I install and need to activate, will I be able to purchase a Product Key (license) online?.
Or, if I install from the OEM disk, can I purchase a license online?
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Scott CSenior EngineerCommented:
You can't purchase an OEM license online.

You will need to install from a regular disk, then purchase the activation key and apply that.

If you use the OEM or Dell disks, you run the risk of not being able to activate it.

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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Agree with the above. Consider looking on eBay for a complete (and legal) Windows 7 Pro 64-bit DVD with legal Key. I have done this before and it works.
Tom CieslikIT EngineerCommented:
If you'll get original Dell OEM installation DVD then its possible that windows will install and activation not going to be required.
I've had that situation more than once. It looks like some Windows 7 OEM DVD's from Dell is checking if computer has Service Tag in BIOS, installator think that is original system hardware for OEM installation and activating Windows automatically.

I know that this is not a 100% legal but for some reason was working for me few times. I had Windows 7 steacker on tower but system never asked me to put key to activation window.

Maybe this is a glitch in Windows 7 OEM DELL installator but you can try.

If not you need to buy RETAIL key and use Windows 7 retail DVD.
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Scott CSenior EngineerCommented:
Tom, that might work IF the computer originally came with Win7.  It came with Visa.  A Win7 OEM disk will not work on that machine.
Tom CieslikIT EngineerCommented:
Are you sure ? I remember I did install Windows 7 Pro OEM on one of my Windows XP computer from Dell.
 This was for test only to check if software we've here and it's very old will work on Windows 7 and I get Windows 7 automatically activated.
Scott CSenior EngineerCommented:
Pretty sure.  I've never been able to get an OEM disk to install on an older machine.  Now, I've been able to install Win7 on a machine that originally came with Win8 and Win10.
Shaun VermaakTechnical SpecialistCommented:
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