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Dell computers, for example, ship with OEM Windows CDs that can pretty much be installed on any other dell that is licensed for that version of windows without ever prompting the user for a product key. If I recall they also contain data like their service key.

On what type of storage do manufacturer's record this data?

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The service tag on a Dell is stored in the BIOS. It cannot be changed. (its write once memory, so if you replace the Motherboard, you can put in the service tag once).

It can be queried by windows.

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But what about the windows key, and what about reflashing your BIOS--does their utility grab that info off the original image and then put it back on the new one? – andyortlieb Nov 5 '10 at 20:39

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