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  1. #1
    Star Lounger
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    Dell Vostro 3300 Laptop

    Greetings -

    To make a long story short, I inherited the titled laptop from my son-in-law. Prior to giving it to me, he reloaded WIN 7 Pro but did not use a Dell Installation disk. Upon receipt, I noticed that Win needed activation. The normal online process failed. I called MS, and they said the product key was blocked and would need to contact Dell. Dell said they could fix it, but for about 130 bucks.

    Trying to restore the original system, none of the Dell factory restore operations showed up, either as a repair computer boot option following F8 during startup, or the similar function under the all programs heading on the start menu. There is a disk image file titled factory.wim, (about 5 gig) but there does not appear to be any software to run it.

    Solution 1 would be to try to find some Dell software that would do a factory restore on the image. That likely would end up with a number of programs on the computer that I don't want, however. But it might be free.


    Solution 2 would be to purchase a WIN 7 product key from either MS or perhaps from somebody like Newegg along with what I believe is a corresponding hardware purchase. It's my understanding that I can't just buy a wholesale WIN installation disk by itself.


    Any comments on what I've laid out would be appreciated. I guess I'm especially concerned that there might be something in the Dell BIOS that would preclude loading and activating a "non Dell" Windows system on a Dell computer. Thanks.

    Casey H.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Casey,

    Check for the Dell restore partition. Ctrl+F11 at boot. If that works it should restore the machine to fresh from the factory condition. HTH
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

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  3. #3
    jwoods
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    The problem is you do not have a valid product key, so unless you can get the original Dell installation disk from your son-in-law, the fix won't be free.

    You can purchase a Windows 7 OEM installation disk...

    http://www.amazon.com/Windows-Profes.../dp/B00H09BOXQ

    The positive is that you can upgrade that to Windows 10 Pro at no charge until the end of July 2016.

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    Why did he reinstall Win 7 Pro and where did he get the disk from ?

    Dell may still be able to provide you with the OEM Recovery disks for that model which should be cheaper than the $130 Dell want to fix it for you and could be cheaper than what you would pay for a Win 7 Pro OEM install disk you can buy online from various vendors.

    Factory resetting it with Dell's disks while giving you all of the crapware back on it, won't be a problem when it comes to cleaning it up.

    PC Decrapifier is a free program that lists the recommended and other category of programs you may want to uninstall and StartUpLite will vet your Start up menu for you.

    http://www.pcdecrapifier.com/download

    https://www.malwarebytes.org/startuplite/

  5. #5
    Star Lounger
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    Thanks everyone. CTRL F11 did not work as I suspect you only get that option if Windows was loaded from a Dell installation disk. The product key is valid--but only if it was loaded with a Dell disk. That's what the Dell guy said anyway. I think I'll bite the bullet and go the Amazon route with a new disk. That's about the same as what Dell wants to charge me. Thanks again.

  6. #6
    Star Lounger
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    One more thing I'd like to make sure of. Is it legitimate to use the discounted OEM version of Win 7 as a replacement for the original software, or should I be buying the retail version? Thanks.

  7. #7
    jwoods
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    Quote Originally Posted by Casey H View Post
    One more thing I'd like to make sure of. Is it legitimate to use the discounted OEM version of Win 7 as a replacement for the original software, or should I be buying the retail version? Thanks.
    OEM Disk Restrictions.jpg

  8. #8
    5 Star Lounger
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    In Control Panel/System and Security/System you will find Product ID at the bottom, with the option to change the key. I suggest you change the key to the key you will find on the outside of the computer case. I think that should fix it (although it may change a few things as well, since changing the number may change the version). You have Windows installed, and that is the valid activation number for Windows on that computer.

  9. #9
    Star Lounger
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    Thanks. Looks like I'm good to go with an OEM version. I have already tried to product key printed on the sticker. That's the code MS says is blocked and that Dell was willing to fix for 130 bucks. Win 7 was reinstalled as a means to start afresh but unfortunately not with a Dell installation disk. The Dell guy said you can't use just any installation disk, it's got to be by Dell. Anyway thanks. I'll plan on picking up new and starting from scratch.

    Casey

  10. #10
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Casey,

    Have you tried this Dell Instruction? HTH
    Last edited by RetiredGeek; 2015-10-21 at 10:37.
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

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  11. #11
    Silver Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by Casey H View Post
    The Dell guy said you can't use just any installation disk, it's got to be by Dell.
    Casey
    That is true IF you want everything that came with the Dell using the factory restore disc/s. If the Dell came with separate discs such as the Windows disc, the Resource CD and others such as for playing DVDs you don't have to install the extras. The Resource CD has drivers on it but those can be downloaded from http://support.dell.com using the Service Tag on the machine. I've had success using a standard/unbranded OEM disc but the had to be activated. I've also use a Retail Upgrade disc for Win7 on Dell computers [I have a couple of Desktops and 4 Notebooks, all but 1 are rehabs].

  12. #12
    WS Lounge VIP Coochin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RetiredGeek View Post
    Casey,

    Have you tried this Dell Instruction? HTH
    Your link to the Dell Instruction returned "This page can’t be displayed".
    Computer Consultant/Technician since 1998 (first PC was Atari 1040STE in 1988).
    Most common computing error is EBKAC: Error Between Keyboard And Chairback
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  13. #13
    WS Lounge VIP Coochin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jwoods View Post
    "Requires a clean installation, and all prior data must be backed up"? Wrong, too many times I have performed repair-reinstalls of OEM Windows installations.

    "Does not come with free direct support from Microsoft". Fails to state that the OEM provides support.

    "Will not allow for a change to a different model motherboard once installed". False, I have replaced more than a hundred motherboards in customers' computers over the years (but Windows must be re-activated by phone).
    Computer Consultant/Technician since 1998 (first PC was Atari 1040STE in 1988).
    Most common computing error is EBKAC: Error Between Keyboard And Chairback
    AMD FX8120 (8-core @ 3.1GHz) CPU, Gigabyte GA-990FXA-D3 motherboard, 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1866MHz RAM, ATI-AMD Radeon HD6770 PCI-E VGA, 480GB Kingston SSD, 2TB Seagate SATA3.0 HDD, ASUS DVD/RW.

  14. #14
    Silver Lounger
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  15. #15
    jwoods
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coochin View Post
    "Requires a clean installation, and all prior data must be backed up"? Wrong, too many times I have performed repair-reinstalls of OEM Windows installations.

    "Does not come with free direct support from Microsoft". Fails to state that the OEM provides support.

    "Will not allow for a change to a different model motherboard once installed". False, I have replaced more than a hundred motherboards in customers' computers over the years (but Windows must be re-activated by phone).
    Take that up with Amazon...

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