My wife has managed to buy a Dell laptop she was using at her ex-employer that just went bust. The problem with it is the OS (Windows XP) which takes ages to boot and is generally disproportionally slow to the hardware of the machine. So my aim is to sacrifice a day and reinstall it.
The problem I am slightly worried about is the licensing/registration/activation hell. Apart from the sticker (with WinXP license key), the laptop has no other paperwork proving this license is legitimate. I believe this was originally an OEM license. Unfortunately, I don't have the the installation CD.
This computer also has MS Office installed (which I would like to retain) but it none of MS Office apps would launch due to some obscure error complaining about lack of free disk space (which computer has plenty of). I have absolutely no clue what kind of license this MS Office was. And because the company has gone into the administration, there is no way of getting this information nor installable media.
I believe that by buying the hardware I have also acquired the software which I can use as I see fit. Correct me if I'm wrong.
Above said, my question would be:
What is the easiest way of reinstalling the XP? By easiest I mean avoiding spending my time to prove Microsoft support I've got the right to use the software (insert your computer says noooo joke here) but still being able to get to fresh virgin activated legal state of the XP. I used to work as a sysadmin many years ago so I am not afraid of any technical difficulties. The same question applies to MS Office.
I imagine the process would consist of backing up all the data, pulling some bits from the registry and using that on the fresh install. As for reinstall I'd expect to use some sort of OEM Windows repair CD from Dell, right? Are those freely available? My other box (HP) has such a thing and it can't be used on any other brand.
I'm sure somebody had to go through this licensing hell and could share his/her tips.
Thanks in advance.