Windows Vista forum

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Using Dell operating system disk to install Vista on another

by peterbalcombe / January 13, 2009 8:04 PM PST

We wish to put a larger hard disk in my son's non Dell laptop. We are aware we could use a cloning program to transfer the data between disks but would like to achieve a clean install. We have the COA sticker / number for the original installation on the laptop but no an install disk and the backup section on the present hard disk is corrupted.Will we be able to use my Dell operating system disk (supplied for my Dell Inspiron 1520 laptop and containing the Vista operating system) and his legitimate COA registration numbers to achieve an installation or will we find the ourselves unable to follow this path through Dell or other customisations?

Advice appreciated


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Sorry no.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 13, 2009 9:04 PM PST

You may not know that the Dell license does not give you the rights to move it to another machine. Some thought they "bought" Vista, XP, Windows when they buy a laptop or other common maker's machine. In many cases you get the stripped down OEM license.

Go ahead and try but no one can offer any support and it should fail if the OEM did they job right.

Again, this is all about understanding licenses. It's tough on those that first explore this area and many get upset over it.

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Sorry no
by peterbalcombe / January 13, 2009 11:17 PM PST
In reply to: Sorry no.

Sorry I have not made myself clear. We are not looking to transfer the license from my Dell laptop to my son's laptop. We already have a license (COA) and registered number for Vista on his laptop which we wish to re-use. We also wish to retain the vista license on my Dell laptop. What we lack is a installation DVD for my son's laptop and I am wanting to know if I can use the Dell operating system dvd for this purpose ie. can we install vista on his laptop using that laptop's fully legal COA and registration and the Dell operating system disk?


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Doesn't matter...
by John.Wilkinson / January 13, 2009 11:35 PM PST
In reply to: Sorry no

Unless they are both the exact same model running the same edition of Vista you cannot use one DVD for the other as each one is customized for the specific model it's installed to, both in terms of drivers/software packages and the hardware it checks for to ensure it's a 'legal' installation. You're not given the option to enter the COA to indicate which system you're installing it to and thereby change the qualifications and inclusions. You can order a set of recovery discs from Dell for that model at a nominal fee, but otherwise cloning is the only option outside of purchasing a new license.


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Doesn't matter .
by peterbalcombe / January 14, 2009 12:02 AM PST
In reply to: Doesn't matter...

Thanks I understand - cloning it is then. Does nothing to mollify my growing resentment of Microsoft's overwheening greed and Bill Gate's sanctimonious conversion to good works - surely the modern equivalent of the medieaval wealthy who sought to buy themselves places in heaven by paying for cathedrals etc rather than the hell they rightly deserved? I am comforted that all empires eventually come to an end and fervently hope this one will dissapear to be replaced by an Open Source alternative ASAP.


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Just a final note...
by John.Wilkinson / January 14, 2009 2:14 AM PST
In reply to: Doesn't matter .

That limitation is imposed because of an agreement with Dell in which licenses are sold to them in bulk for pennies on the dollar. Dell accepts the obligation of providing support and then builds in the checks to verify you don't install the copy onto another machine, chooses to provide only limited drivers, etc. Given Dell requested it be that way in order to keep their own costs down it's a little more difficult to blame Microsoft when all they did was oblige to keep the cost of new computers down.


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greedy and sanctimonious?
by ramarc / January 14, 2009 3:00 AM PST
In reply to: Doesn't matter .

how is microsoft greedy in this instance? you don't have an install disc so it seems you should direct your ire at whomever is responsible for that omission. most manufacturers will provide you a legitimate install disc for about $10 -- the cost of a DVD movie -- so where does greed come into play?

and microsoft, unlike ibm and apple, has never sought royalities/licenses for windows development and has never bound windows to proprietary hardware. microsoft even offers free versions of its premiere development tools and technologies (such as visual studio and sql server). when free utilities/features (defragmenters, backup, media player, anti-virus, web browsers, etc) were added to the OS, other vendors cry foul. microsoft was sued for bundling *free* alternatives to software that other consumers were paying for. so, just how is microsoft the greedy party?

and as for gates' "conversion," he was always known to support charities. as his wealth increased, so did his giving. he created the william gates sr foundation in 1994, 15 years ago, with a $94M endowment. in 2007 he gave $1.3B to it's successor, the bill&melinda gates foundation, which works to improve healthcare, agriculture, poverty throughout the world. "From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked."

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Microsoft's demise
by peterbalcombe / January 14, 2009 3:09 AM PST

Roll it on!!

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So Peter, why not?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 14, 2009 8:56 AM PST
In reply to: Doesn't matter .

Run Windows 7 for free for a time?

And how about REACTOS? It's free and runs a lot of Windows apps. Read more at

And when you finish your clone job, tell us how it turned out.

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Really annoying they do that.
by vectorvike844 / June 13, 2013 6:39 AM PDT
In reply to: Doesn't matter...

I was researching if I could do this and found this question. So basically what you're saying is Microsoft and Vista are the total opposite of Linux? I've installed Linux on so many machines I always forget about Microsoft license restrictions.

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by bigred220 / November 9, 2010 1:58 AM PST

The Dell OS CD/DVDs are OEM reload media. Except for eMachines, if you put in the disk it should reload your OS. Then after reboot you will be prompted for the license key for the machine you have - type that in. Yes the drivers may be limited. In deference to the comments earlier, years ago (Windows 95 ish) there was not a prompt for a COA number and the license went with the reload CD. Not any more. Note this will not work if the operating systems do not match exactly and if you are trying to use retail licenses vis OEM (sticker) licenses. And the Microsoft licensing system is smart enough to see that you are reloading the same machine with the same OS (just the hard disk is different) and should be fine with it with online validation.

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cloning Vista disk
by Frederic Gallice / June 14, 2013 6:29 PM PDT
In reply to: Yes

I agree wih bigred220,
"And the Microsoft licensing system is smart enough to see that you are reloading the same machine with the same OS (just the hard disk is different) and should be fine with it with online validation."

I had problem with DELL Inspiron Vista Premium OEM - starded to slow down, lost access to programs, config panel and even explorer, etc. (virus, trojan ?)
To make the story short, I duplicated the disk (clone) - swapped disks and after just a few update and system checks at boot, it worked and operated without any fuss, !
Since I've duplicated this "new" disk several times - to a larger size - and no problem, except a system check during first boot.

I did however had a problem, as I wanted to duplicate folders and files to the previous disk, I reconnected it via a USB port, as external disk, the explorer showed both disk, the folder/file copies were OK !

However when I wanted to reinstall that "spare" former disk into the computer, it refused to operate: the system file "kernel32.dll" not found, even though it was there !
After cloning again, I did the same operation (plugging as external drive on USB) and again, it did not start.
The computer accepts it but there is a conflict and the "external system disk" is "corrupted" !
Any answer or experience on that matter ? How to fix the problem (do not have a Vista CD - just OEM).
Best regards

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Until Windows 8
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / June 15, 2013 2:39 AM PDT
In reply to: cloning Vista disk

There has been no support to run Windows on USB connections. This is a rather old post and your new issue is worthy of a new discussion.

If you want to try a non-supported hack to get Windows to run off USB, I won't discuss it as it's something you find on the web and can't find anyone to help you fix it up. It also can require you have the full retail Windows DVD and again may be impossible on these OEM versions.

Please start a new discussion when you change the topic.

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