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I have a Dell Latitude D610 from my company that they gave me with XP Pro installed on it. I have an OEM key from Dell on a sticker on the computer. I'd like to get a fresh install of XP Pro in it for free.

I was wondering about a few things. First, if I find an iso online, does it need to be Dell specific to activate with my key, or would a standard XP Pro one work? I did not get a recovery disc of any sort with the system.

However, with a Dell desktop, I have an XP Home recovery CD. Would that potentially work to install and activate with my Pro key?

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dell keys only work on dell windows cds / dell windows iso. you may be able to get a dell cd off ebay or off dell. You already have a dell license key. You can install windows from a regular windows cd but then you need a regular key not a dell key.

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You need Windows XP Professional CD from Dell.

Windows XP Home CD from Dell will not work with your key.

Windows XP Professional NOT from dell will not work too.

  1. I guess this computer warranty expired, so you probably can't order recovery CD from Dell, but you can buy CD on ebay. I found one for $9.99.

  2. If there is c:\i386 directory on this computer - you can use these files to reinstall windows. Create bootable pendrive with some DOS and put i386 directory there. There should be setup.exe file - it is windows installer.

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It's quite possible your PC still has the factory restore partition - in which case, you do not need to 'find' an ISO online - you won't even need the key, actually.

Assuming you've backed up everything you want to keep, restart the PC and hold Ctrl+F11 as it reboots.

If you see the "Dell PC Restore By Symantec", you should be good to go, as this holds a disk image of the initial (i.e. factory) XP installation.

Select that option, and let it work its magic - this is fully automated, and doesn't require any input. (it may take a bit of time, but it is nevertheless faster than a manual re-installation).

Please note:

  • If the disk was repartitioned at some point in its life, the restore partition may be gone.
  • This is different from a 'recovery CD'.
  • Once the fresh disk image is restored, you will have to follow through with a (long) session of drivers and Windows updates, as the OS reverts to the state it was whenever that computer shipped. Not a big price to pay for a nice clean install though.
  • Any third-party software that wasn't part of the initial factory setup will have to be re-installed, obviously.
  • It remains up to you to figure out if you can legally use this OEM license (possibly a Volume License, if you've got this out of a company pool) - See Billy_Bob comment to your initial question.

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