I need to replace a laptops drive. I have this method in mind (http://www.pcworld.com/article/248995/how_to_install_wi...), but would like a backup plan. I also need to find a way to reinstall Office. The problem is that this laptop was bought in a shop and has no discs. It's owner isn't very good with computers, so no backups. I have the OS ProdKey and the Office prodkey, and I fear that they'll need to buy software again.
Yes, use the Digital River images that the article links -- make sure to use the identical version to what you use now so your key will work. You are pretty much out of luck though for Office, as such images are not available for it -- your best bet is to find a friend that has disks for the same version.
While I can sometimes access files by plugging it into a different PC, it won't let me run or access its system files. I copied the user profile and most documents, (35-40GB) and it took many efforts and several days. Every test says it's faulty and Dell comfirmed that it needed replaced.