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Windows 7: Can I install Win 7 Pro from retail but using a DELL Product Key

09 May 2015   #1

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit
Can I install Win 7 Pro from retail but using a DELL Product Key

The reason behind this is pretty simple (but a bit long-winded).

I own an OEM version of Windows 7 Professional 64 bit which is not tied to a manufacturer which I use in my computer that I built myself. The label states "Licensed for distribution only with a new PC".

A different friend last week bought a Novatech PC and yesterday I tried to install my old retail version of Vista Ultimate 64bit only to find out that the drivers would not run on that OS - I have to install Windows 7.

On ebay there is a 100%er (there are a lot of them) selling a Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64bit SP1 Full Install COA Product Key HP Stick which states:

HP genuine product key from a de-commissioned machine which will only activate One Desktop/Notebook. Key may show signs of wear. Please note this is not a multi licence key. HP Windows 7 Professional COA. Original Motherboard (Beyond Economical Repair - BER) & Certificate of Authenticity (COA) Licence Key Sticker for activation of software.

My question is, and I've tried to find a definitive answer on this, is in the title: Can I install Win 7 Pro from my own OEM disc but use the Product Key from the ebay purchase (should I go ahead of course)?

I am assuming I'd have to go through the laborious telephone process as I did on mine.

I have also read in some places this would not work and that I would have toi use a full retail version and then use the ebay key to register and activate - is there ant truth in this, or which would be a better option?

Thanks for any reply.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 May 2015   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit

What specifically makes you think the Ebay Product Key is "retail"?

Leaving aside the "retail" issue, I'd be very reluctant to buy any Windows key from Ebay. There are just too many variables and too many reports of problems. You might be able to activate and think all is well and then get told you are not legitimate months later. It's a risk I would NOT take. As you note yourself, 100% ratings for software sellers on Ebay are not hard to find.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 May 2015   #3

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit

I didn't say the ebay key is retail, It is an OEM HP key.

There are others on there selling the DELL disc and the sticky label and the useless motherboard, would these be safer having the disc at hand?

My software was also an OEM though not tied to any manufacturer, I bought that from OEMworld on ebay and two years later it is fine. I assumed this seller was an honest one with so many positives.

He has to have an OS and this is for him the cheapest way to do it. I have advised buying a retail but he cannot afford that route. I will of course pass on the comments here and in the end, warnings issued, will do as he requests. In the meantime would activation work?
My System SpecsSystem Spec

09 May 2015   #4

Windows 7 Pro x64 Windows 10 Pro x64

You can install the Technical Preview of Windows 10 right now for free, but when the retail version comes out you will have to buy it and re install windows. But we are not sure when Windows 10 will come out so at least he could have an OS until he gets one.

Download Windows 10 Insider Preview ISO - Microsoft Windows

But to your question....

A non branded oem disc and a retail disc are exactly the same thing.

If the Dell has a Windows 7 COA, with a readable key, then of course you can use your retail disc, as long as the disc version and the key version are the same.

DO NOT attempt to buy a key off Ebay, you will get ripped off, we see it time and time again.

If you need windows 7, just buy it from a place like Newegg or Tigerdirect.

Operating Systems, Microsoft Windows -


Attached Images
Can I install Win 7 Pro from retail but using a DELL Product Key-hardwarecoa.gif 
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 May 2015   #5

Windows 10 Education 64 bit

I wouldn't do it. Windows 7 OEM PC's ship with a COA sticker even though they use a factory SLIC table activation. If you don't have the custom OEM branded install media you use the code on the COA sticker. Those codes are not meant to be used on another PC. Buyer beware IMHO. Sounds like somebody is collecting the stickers off of dead PC's. You have no way of knowing if that code has already been used, if it has you won't be able to activate with it. Your going to have to phone activate anyway as those codes are purposely blocked from automatic online activation by Microsoft.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 May 2015   #6
Microsoft MVP


I've heard that in the past that sellers sold a part with OEM version so buyers could reasonably be deemed builders, but why would they sell a dead mobo with the key? Anyone know for sure?

If that's the mobo it was installed upon, what good is having the useless mobo that the key lived and died upon?

It is as legit as the dead skunk they should make OS seller's include on eBay. We once had a case a day here of bad keys sold there.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 May 2015   #7

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit

Thanks everyone for the informative and decisive information. Maybe you can have a look at this and let me know what you think.

Otherwise I will advise him to pay more elsewhere to see if he can get a copy that he can trust.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 May 2015   #8

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Win 7 x64 Home Premium (and x86 VirtualBox VM)/Win10

I would be VERY wary about this vendor.
1) it appears to be his first item on the site so no history to judge on.
2) the price is below wholesale - maybe stolen?

The picture itself looks OK - but whether it bears any relation to the actual product is something you'll only find out after purchase.

Get it from somewhere like, or and you know it's good. from a back-street vendor like this, you have no guarantees whatever.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 May 2015   #9

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit

I have one more question though - for clarification only as it confuses me a bit.

On the back of that item the second point states that:
If the individual software license is for a desktop operating system or application software, it also must be preinstalled on the hard drive of the fully assembled computer system, using the OEM Preinstallation Kit (OPK).

What does that mean exactly? Does it mean it cannot simply be installed as a 'normal' OS would be by booting from the DVD drive? If that is the case I will contact eBid as that should have been made obvious in the description.

As for the previous issue regarding buying this - @NoelDP. Well spotted, rep attributed. It does state that it is the picture of the item but even so, it might be stolen though he states there are three of them. I will avoid and advise my friend take a different approach.

You've all been most helpful, thanks.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 May 2015   #10

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Win 7 x64 Home Premium (and x86 VirtualBox VM)/Win10

The OEM System Builder license is observed more in the breaking that the following

Technically, it must be bought by the system maker and installed using the OPK - because doing so then forces the owner/user to accept the Software License Terms on first boot. It's this requirement of acceptance that is the important one.
Installing in the normal way also forces acceptance of the terms, so it's OK for the End-user to do it.

What's not technically OK is for the system builder to install in the 'normal' way, and then sell the system to an end-user pre-activated.

Here's the full text of the SB terms...

Attached Files
File Type: pdf OEM System Builder License WIn7.PDF (86.3 KB, 2 views)
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Can I install Win 7 Pro from retail but using a DELL Product Key

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