[quote0955b6f91b="akalic"]I see, so if i have the product key sticker on my computer (it isn't a laptop btw ) ), and i borrow a friend's legit vista home premium installation CD, that is basically emulating a "legit install" right?
the thing is it prompts me at the bottom right corner of my desktop in a bubble, then when i click on it, it goes away. I can't trace it either, or look up on it, because even looking through "my computer", it says that the vista product key is valid bla bla bla certified.[/quote0955b6f91b]
Sorry, I thought I read laptop somewhere. Doesn't matter, there is no difference as far as Vista is concerned. The computer should still have come with a means to restore the factory image, whether a hidden partition or discs. For future reference, you should always keep those. ;)
Yes, you can install with the product key on the sticker. With a few OEM exceptions, Vista installation DVD's have all versions of Vista on them. When you install, you choose which version (Home Premium, Business, Ultimate, etc.) to install. You can only activate the version that matches the key you have, though. So if yours was Home Premium and your friend's version is Home Premium as well, and your friend's disc is just a Vista install disc and not a factory image disc (which probably won't work for you), you can borrow his and enter the key from your sticker, which will then let you activate.
My Toshiba laptop came with the Windows Anytime Upgrade DVD, which is actually a retail Vista DVD with all versions on it, and this is the same DVD you can order from Microsoft for $8. My Sony VAIO didn't come with physical media, but came with a restore partition on the HDD and allows you to burn factory restore DVD's (which are not regular Vista installation DVD's, so they can't be used anywhere else).
Actually, now that I think about it, I read somewhere that you can actually download the Vista installation ISO from Microsoft. Let me check to see if I can find that info again...
[b0955b6f91b]EDIT[/b0955b6f91b] Here you go. This is a step-by-step how-to written from a laptop perspective but applies to any PC
Clean Vista Install With No Activation[=http//forum.notebookreview.com/showthread.php?t=120228]Clean Vista Install With No Activation
Or you can just go straight to this article with the download links[=http//www.mydigitallife.info/2007/05/08/windows-vista-free-direct-download-link/]this article with the download links
to get the files to build a bootable Vista DVD (this is a legit download, as described in the above article. It's useless without the product key you already have).
[quote0955b6f91b="TFOAF"]I think...I'm not sure...but I think that you have to install Vista with the same OEM version that came with your computer.[/quote0955b6f91b]
No you don't, you can install any Vista version that you have a legal key for. The key on the sticker should work with a retail version of Vista -- as far as I know, Microsoft no longer produces separate OEM and Retail installation media. What you lican'tli typically do is take that OEM key and install it on another computer, because it's locked to that OEM and BIOS.