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Master Service Technician
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I have 3 Dell 745 Optiplex Desktops that I put new Hard Drives in. I want to do a fresh Install of the OS (windows XP PRO) on all three machines. Actually I will install on one, do all the updates then make an image and copy to the other hard drives, but my question recently arised when I was speaking to another computer tech at a GEEK SQUAD store...

I have a WINDOWS XP PRO OS disc that came from Dell, I paid 20 bucks for it. IT is an OS REINSTALL disc.

All three machines have a WINDOWS COA for XP PRO on them. I should be able to use the one disc for all three machines right? (or any other Dell machine that has Windows XP PRO COA) The GEEK Squad guru tells me i need to reorder 3 OS reinstall discfrom Dell. Which he can do btw! LOL

So am I correct? One reinstall disc from will work for Dell units as long as the machine has a COA attached? or is he correct?

Im not paying for the CD, but in essence the Product Key Code right?
 

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Master Service Technician
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Discussion Starter #3

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Each of the 345s should have come with restore/reinstall CDs with the original OS and programs. If you have those, coupled with the Product Keys on the cases, you should be fine. If not, there may be a restore partition on the original drives. I don't know if those can be burned to a CD or not.

Theoretically, even with only one restore/reinstall CD, you should be OK. The machines would have originally been validated with a system builder key owned by Dell and may not even have the Product Key from the cases in the registry. Using those keys now should get them validated with no problem through Windows Activation.

The only time you should really have to buy a CD or key for each machine would be on a new install or upgrade.
 

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Master Service Technician
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Discussion Starter #5
Theoretically said:
Thats what I am thinking...I have some OS restore disc that were given to me, but the one I just bought has SP 3 on it. Thus the reason i want to use it.
 

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My opinion would be the COA on the side of the computer is your license. As long as you get a CD that will install and accept that key I wouldn't worry.

Of course, I have been known to occasionally acquire certain software from the internet so you probably shouldn't ask me :)
 

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I do this stuff for a living... And of course GS would give that answer they just want to make money!

What you want to do is perfectly fine... However!!! You will have to activate each install with its matching CD Key off the COA on that computer.

If you were to install to one and then ghost to the other two, i have done this many times when setting up multiple computers for a client when all the computers are the same model, and then run all three off the same CD Key you wouldn't be able to activate them all.

Here is what you do...

Install to first machine, activate, do all your windows updates, driver installs, software, etc. Make it complete.

Ghost to the other two drives.

Make sure the first machine is shut off or disconnected from the internet, XP Pro phones home and if two machines call home with the same CD Key at the same time you could get blacklisted on that key.

Fire up the second one, now change the product key on it to the COA label on that systems case. Here is a very good writeup that i point people to with this question.

http://pcsupport.about.com/od/productkeysactivation/ht/changexpkey.htm

And then just repeat it again for the third machine.

Ghosting is not a problem, but each machine must be running on its own respective product key.

Is there illegal ways around this?? Of course their is!! But if you have COA's that are valid there is no reason to use any trickery here, just use the product key's that you have to avoid future problems.
 

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Try Ubuntu. I know, I keep harping on it, but it can revive old computers because its so thin and small. Win 7 is ginormous, Ubuntu can fit on a standard CD in uncompressed format. :howdy:

Not to mention, it's completely free!
 

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He has COA's, no reason to switch OS platforms.

Not to mention how useless Linux is to the average user other than those that only web browse or email. If you only need those two uses then sure give Linux a try, if you need it for business or personal use beyond that forget it.

And don't say i am a Linux basher merely because i love Windows... I have tried them all, in the end Linux was always useless to me. Software and hardware support of major manufacturers isn't there.

Windows XP isn't great in my opinion, i call it Windows Xtra Problems, but it works. Windows 7 has been nothing but reliable for me, but then i never really had problems with Vista either and some did!
 

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I'm sorry but you don't have to enter CD activation code for each system, Dell, IBM, HP, Gateway and others all use a product key that will load on any Dell for example without entering a key. In fact the same disk will load the OS on another manufacturer's machines but in that case you do need the COA activation key number. Each one has a manufacture id bit in the bios and the same bit on the cd, if loaded on same manufacture system it loads fine. If on an IBM using Dell CD you need to enter the activation number on the COA. Check a bunch of Dell systems you will find the same number on all of them, last 5 digits are 00102 on the system screen, CD key ends with YD4YT. Gateway is 00100, CD key ends with QPMFB and IBM is 39812, CD key ends with 9K2FB. I have loaded hundreds of systems using Dell CD on Dell, HP on HP, Gateway on Gateway and IBM on IBM never putting the activation code in. Load them up with the CD you have, each has a COA.
 

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Try Ubuntu. I know, I keep harping on it, but it can revive old computers because its so thin and small. Win 7 is ginormous, Ubuntu can fit on a standard CD in uncompressed format. :howdy:

Not to mention, it's completely free!
Ubunti is very good for being a free system....and so is Linux mint. Of the two I prefer Linux Mint....for me it seems a little better put together.
 

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I'm sorry but you don't have to enter CD activation code for each system, Dell, IBM, HP, Gateway and others all use a product key that will load on any Dell for example without entering a key. In fact the same disk will load the OS on another manufacturer's machines but in that case you do need the COA activation key number. Each one has a manufacture id bit in the bios and the same bit on the cd, if loaded on same manufacture system it loads fine. If on an IBM using Dell CD you need to enter the activation number on the COA. Check a bunch of Dell systems you will find the same number on all of them, last 5 digits are 00102 on the system screen, CD key ends with YD4YT. Gateway is 00100, CD key ends with QPMFB and IBM is 39812, CD key ends with 9K2FB. I have loaded hundreds of systems using Dell CD on Dell, HP on HP, Gateway on Gateway and IBM on IBM never putting the activation code in. Load them up with the CD you have, each has a COA.
Yes if the bios supports it....

But i have done many many Dell's and Toshiba's that don't do that. Even my brand new laptop with Windows 7 asked for the Product Key when i reinstalled after upgrading the hard drive, went to a SSD drive for reliability and speed.

So its not ALL systems that do that. And i don't believe the Optiplex systems support it back in the XP vintage. I will have to dig through the shelves here i think i have an Optiplex somewhere i can try it on. I have a whole folder of restore/system discs. Nine times out of ten i have one to toss in a system that needs it.

It depends on how the manufacturer handled the licensing as well from what i can tell. Some ask for it some don't, i know Microsoft was trying to make it so that everyone would have to enter the Product Key... But then the manufacturers begged for this method so that the customers can quickly restore systems with an OEM disc.

Most times i don't use the OEM disc though... Its outdated.

I would rather grab my slipstreamed disc that i keep up to date with the latest service packs and security patches. Then download fresh drivers from the manufacturers.
 

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Dell Install CD's work on any Dell, and are legal to use on ANY Dell, the software seeks for the Key that is within the Bios and verify's it's legit.. They are not a 'restore' cd.

As far as the Linux vs Windows argument.. I use both, but primarily I use linux. my personal favorite distro is PC Linux OS, which is installed dual boot with windows on all my computers. sometimes you need windows, but not always
 

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Dell Install CD's work on any Dell, and are legal to use on ANY Dell, the software seeks for the Key that is within the Bios and verify's it's legit.. They are not a 'restore' cd.

As far as the Linux vs Windows argument.. I use both, but primarily I use linux. my personal favorite distro is PC Linux OS, which is installed dual boot with windows on all my computers. sometimes you need windows, but not always
Yes if the BIOS supports it...

Actually Dell calls it a System Restoration Disc... Since essentially you are Restoring the system to its factory setup.

So even though many of us would call it a Install CD, if you were to use that term with the manufacturers they would be like what?? As they don't call it that anymore. I deal with this stuff daily.... And i always hate when they rename something that doesn't fit. Cause when i hear restore disc i think windows system restore...

For the manufacturers to label it an Install disc it has to be an original Microsoft disc, in other words running windows install etc.

All the OEM companies now use a Restore method which overwrites the hard drive with a saved hard drive image. Which is why they now call it a restore disc.

About the only use i have for Linux is to keep that one wobbly workbench leg the right length, i jammed the install discs i burned for Linux under there, works quite nicely! :thThumbsU
 

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I use linux for most day to day activities.. Installation is easy. 5 mins to install and when your done, usually there are no drivers to install.. it's personal prefrence..

Last I knew, buisnuess class Dell's still used an install disc as the recovery disc, having an actual windows installer that will only work on Dells.. The discs I'm thinking of are white and green.. Last Dell I did anything with was a GX-280 tho.

Edit: these are what I was thinking of.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Microsoft-W...609?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item23164ae9b9
 

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Just finished a Dell with Win7, never asked for the activation code. There has never been an instance with a Dell, Gateway, or IBM system where I have had to activate with the COA number, unless I used the wrong manufacture disk. The few HP's didn't either but don't do many of them. Just to verify I just loaded an IBM laptop with 256k of memory and a win95 COA and it loaded fine with Winxp. The Dell sitting here has Win7 and I back leveled to Winxp with no problem, no activation. Not sure what instance you have that requires an activation, I haven't had a problem. In any case he has the CD and COA for each, load em up.
 

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Has anyone seen ChimChim?
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Even if the COA is locked out (3 activations) as long as you are being ethical and only have one active install on that COA at any given time, just call Microsoft talk to one of the Licensing Techs and they will generate an unlock code. I do it all the time! It's legal it's your license code.

Geek Squad will not do this, they instead will sell you a new retail copy of the OS, because they make more money.....
 

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Yep, i have to call them at least 2-3 times a week to straighten out a Product Key... Usually when the owner has done a few failed installs but made it through the activation each time. The key gets flagged and i have to do a phone activation... Sucks cause it takes forever even with the automated system.

I have had a few times with XP Pro that it says cannot complete and it goes to some guy in India and i have to talk him out of it.
 

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Master Service Technician
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Discussion Starter #19
Thank you everyone...As far as Lunix and UBNTU (sp) I dont have a clue what they are or even how to get them...I have plenty of extra boxes laying around here that I could and prob should install these OS and see how they work. Just so i know!
 

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http://distrowatch.com

That will list most of the versions of linux available. It would probably just be more confusing for you though. There is a list about halfway down on the right. The rest of the page is mostly news.
 
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