Just bought a new OptiPlex 5040 Small Form Factor BTX (purchased 1/25/16). For business purposes, this needs to stay on Windows 7. I often need to do clean re-installs of machines due to bugs, glitches, etc. I am looking for the Windows 7 Product Key sticker. It is not on the machine itself; and it is not included in any of the material in the box. Where do I get this info? Please help.
Thank you for writing to the Dell Community Forum.
If you are installing Windows 7 with a Dell OEM Re-installation DVD, a system locked pre-installation key will be automatically detected and Windows will be automatically activated when a valid Dell BIOS is detected. The Windows properties will show Windows activated with the system ID. If you are installing from Retail media or Volume Licensing from Microsoft, you will be provided with the product key using which you should be able to activate Windows on the system.
The newer Dell systems don't come with the COA label, since there is a change with the indicators by which Microsoft validates the authenticity of pre-installed Windows on the computer. More info on this is provided on the link below:
Dell-Prajwal ShSocial Media and Community Professional#IWork4DellOrder StatusDownload Drivers
If you are exercising downgrade rights from some version of Windows other than Windows 7, then it is up to you to obtain a key to activate the downgrade. A Dell disc is the easiest, as it will usually activate automatically. Otherwise, you can use MSDN, TechNet, volume license, or OEM keys. Remember, you only need the key to activate the install. After that, it is licensed by virtue of the Windows Professional (8/9/10) license on the computer in question.