The truth of the matter is, the same key is used on more than one machine. Unless it's a vlk, i don't think it's allowed.
Windows 7 and earlier did it differently. The key used was on the OEM Branded install media in the form of a certificates file. Even then your Dell install media wouldn't work on an Acer it would only work on a Dell with a custom BIOS.
I just reread this
"Was able to take a Dell copy of Windows 8, make an uefi bootable usb key, install onto my Dell, and also onto some acers in my office. It used the embedded keys each time, gave me 8 pro where appropriate, and 8 standard when appropriate. No hassles, activated immediately, no calls to robo activation at Microsoft. Good times."
Let me get this straight.
He took a Dell copy of Windows 8 (presummably media supplied when he bought his Windows 8 pc). He then makes a bootable USB from it (fine). He then reimage his Acers with this USB image. ... He then said Good times.
So the Acers already have Windows 8 licences from factory? What if the Acers have XP from factory?
yes obviously the Acer's would have had windows 8 from the factory otherwise the license keys would not be embedded.
as an IT guy who does a lot of OS loads I love the fact that the keys are already in the BIOS there is no need to type in a key or activate the key as long as the machine is hardware licensed for Windows 8.
clearly if the Acer's came with Windows XP it wouldn't be cool to just put Windows 8 on there that would be violating the license agreement. I am all about following the rules.
If the PC didn't originally come from the factory with Windows 8 preinstalled it would not have an embedded product key in its BIOS. In that case you would be prompted to enter a valid product code during the install. Pparks can clarify this but I do not believe he is reimaging the PC's, he is doing a clean install. It's not recovery media its actual Windows install media. It just happened to be supplied by Dell. My ASUS laptop came preinstalled with Windows 8. When I do an install with my MSDN ISO the embedded product code is auto detected and Windows 8 (core) is installed. That is what my product code is good for. I'm not prompted to enter a code and it activates online as soon as you connect to the internet. To install 8 Pro I have to use the add features option and type in a new 8 Pro product code.
He didn't actually specified that the Acers were w8 licensed from factory. Any issues with licensing should be apparent once you do a Windows Update, and after the info is been traced by MS, till then it's anyone's guess.
I created the bootable Windows 8 USB key as follows,
o List disk (make note of the # of your USB key)
o Select disk # (choose the number from previous step)
o Create partition primary
o Format fs=fat32 quick
Then, I took the Dell Windows 8 ISO file, used 7zip to extract the files in the ISO to that USB key.
The key is now ready to boot Windows 8 and install.