first a little background, please bear with me. this will be a long post. 2 desktops a matched pairs of hp elite 8000 cmt. win7 pro in both. both use a cloned hdd. one was replaced with same model. I have done a fresh install of the OS several times to solve issues no other method solved. the original hdd was 160 gig, was replaced with 500 gig, hence the cloning of the 160 to the 500 twice using the same desktop. the issue is I burned an iso cd for emergency because the recovery partition of both does not always work and the installation CDs take 3 hours to finish, not to mention the time to reinstall my 32 apps. with either solution I do NOT need to activate. downloading the ISO from MS requires my product key which I found by using a key finder app. the app found the same key for both desktops. the seller gave me the key for the replaced desktop. neither worked on the MS site. I downloaded the ISO from another site that does not require a key. burned the dvd with no issue. the DVD is detected and allows me to start the installation. so I know the DVD is bootable. issue is that if needed I do not know if I will need the key(s) I have for activation or if I can skip key entering and still activate or skip activation and end up with a usable installation for forever. I do not want phone activation because I do not want to get myself in trouble with MS. these are MY desktops only for my use. is the original product key for either/both desktops stored somewhere in the system? are the keys the same because the HDDs were cloned? since both keys will probably be rejected does that mean the DVD will be of no use? if yes I will erase it and stick with my installation CDs. and all the time it takes.