Windows OEM FAQs and Downloads



DellWindowsReinstallationGuide is written and maintained by Philip Yip. Scotland , Great Britain (GB), , United Kingdom (UK) .

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This guide focuses mainly on the two mainstream Versions of Windows; Windows 10 and Windows 7. The Latest Build – Windows 10 Version 1803 is recommended.

Windows 10 Version 1803

Product Key

Despite Microsoft’s Initially Marketing of a “1 Year Free Upgrade”. All activation mechanisms for Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10 keys work irregardless if Windows 10 has previously been installed on your system:

  • Windows 10 Version 1803 installation media will automatically input all Windows 8 OEM, Windows 8.1 OEM and Windows 10 OEM keys which are embedded in the UEFI BIOS during installation installing the correct edition of Windows 10.

Win10Home Win8Home Win8Bingwin10Pro Win8Pro

  • Windows 10 Version 1803 installation media will all accept Windows 7 OEM keys from COAs (often found under the battery compartments in laptops). Once these are manually input the correct edition of Windows 10 will be installed. If your COA is faded you can reinstall Windows 10 without a Product Key. If you have never installed Windows 10 on your system and your COA is faded see the special case below.

Windows 7 COA

Download a Windows 10 .iso and Clean Install

The Windows 10 Media Creation Tool is recommended for the Creation of Windows 10 Installation Media within Windows i.e. the Guides marked A are recommended for the vast majority of users. Direct Download Links are recommended for the Creation of Windows 10 Installation Media within other OS such as Linux Ubuntu. The Windows 10 .isos Created via Direct Downloads contain more Editions.

Notes on a Faded COA

If the COA is faded a GenuineTicket.XML may be used for activation.

Windows 7

OEM Activation Mechanism

Windows 7 OEM is activated using OEM System Locked Preinstallation. The BIOS/UEFI BIOS contains a SLIC version of 2.1 and associated installation media inputs a generic OEM System Locked Preinstallation Key. The OEM SLP key will activate automatically offline when used with a system which has a SLIC version of 2.1. If the SLIC version of 2.1 is absent from the hardware Windows will not activate using this method.

Dell system’s that are older than or equal to 6th generation hardware shipped with a Pro Edition of Windows are eligible for downgrade rights to Windows 7 Pro. i.e. systems with the following stickers contain a SLIC 2.1. System’s shipped with a non-Pro Edition of Windows 10 will not have the SLIC 2.1.

win10Pro Win8Pro

Even older system’s shipped directly with a Windows 7 OEM License have a COA (often found under the battery compartments in laptops). The key on this COA is not needed for Product Activation i.e. systems with the following stickers contain a SLIC 2.1.

Windows 7 COA

Clean Install – Dell OEM

Clean Install – Microsoft Retail


End of Life Windows Operating Systems

Windows 8.0 Reached End of Life in January 2016. There is a Free Upgrade to Windows 10 (recommended) or Windows 8.1 see Download a Windows 8.1 OEM or Retail .iso.

Windows Vista Reached End of Life in April 2017. Late Windows Vista systems are eligible for a Free Upgrade to Windows 7 OEM which is in turn eligible for a Free Upgrade to Windows 10 OEM. Windows Vista OEM to Windows 7 OEM to Windows 10 OEM.

Windows XP Reached End of Life in April 2014. There is no Free Upgrade to Windows 10 and your hardware is probably over a Decade old in need of replacement. Unofficial Windows XP .iso Downloads are available here.


Virtualisation of Windows and Connectivity to Legacy Specialist Hardware

I have wrote detailed guides which instruct on the setup of Windows 98, Windows XP and Windows 7 using a Virtual Machine as well as the connection of Legacy hardware via USB or Serial Ports. See Virtualisation of Windows using VMware.


About These Guides

All these guides are made by myself Dr Philip Yip. These guides are not official Dell documentation and they should be classified as unofficial self-help Installation Guides. I do not work for Dell but I am recognised by Dell as an expert in Windows Installation on Dell systems. I have volunteered on the Dell Community Forums since 2007. These guides and my posts are not a channel of official support although i do try to help where possible.

Dr Philip Yip (PhD in Biophysics)


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