Ok, so I've been looking all over the internet for this and I've wound up getting a bunch of different information on the issue. I'm building a new system, and I can get a very cheap upgrade verison of windows 7. However, I'm not sure if I have an xp/vista install lying around anymore... and if I do, it'd be OEM from a branded PC. So this raises a series of questions:
1) If I find an old xp install disc (likely from a dell but the actual install, not recovery disc), can I use that to install a base xp on my system? Will I need an activation code before I can upgrade (I assume yes), and more importantly, if I were to use the Dell COA code from the case, the hologrammed cd card (if I have one), or a viewxpkey pull from the dell would it not work (since it's likely OEM COA and tied to Dell mobo)? Is there a way around this?
2) Could I borrow a legit install/key from someone to install the base for the upgrade and then give them back the disc/key (would their product key be free again for reuse)?
3) I see on ebay people selling COA's for various windows products (xp or vista), however most of these seem to have branding on them, wouldn't I encounter the same issue when trying to use that key?