Thats the issue lots that we get have damaged / unreadable labels and no restore discs so a way to get the right key would be real usefull
Definition of OEM:
The term, OEM (original equipment manufacturer) refers to companies that make products for others to repackage and sell. Resellers buy OEM products in bulk, minus the costly retail packaging that comes with individually sold units. The product itself is essentially the same as its more expensive, retail-packaged sibling. OEM products are used in many industries, but are perhaps most prevalent in electronics.
Generally, dealers of OEM products add something of value before reselling the merchandise. An OEM vendor that does this is known as a "value added reseller" (VAR). A VAR might build components, sub-systems, or systems from quality OEM parts. OEM goods allow VARs a wide range of creative marketing choices, which permits smaller dealers to be competitive in the marketplace.
OEM software will have different product numbers than retail packages, and support may be provided by the VAR, rather than the maker of the software. Functionally, OEM and retail versions of software should be essentially the same.
Two kinds of OEM Product Keys:
OEM SLP Keys:
* OEM SLP (System-Locked Pre-installation) keys are only issued to the big manufacturers such as Dell, Asus, Sony, etc.
* These are the only keys that are able to bypass activation that is, perform offline activation without contacting Microsoft.
* They will work with any OEM SLP system, regardless of the OEM system's brand i.e. Product Keys are not brand specific.
OEM NONSLP Keys:
* Similar to Retail, but distributed and supported by an OEM. Needs activation by phone or online and they are not brand specific. .
OEM COA Keys:
* OEM COA keys (Certificate of Authentication) are regular OEM keys that require activation, either by phone or online and they are not brand specific.
(you will find the sticker with the key underneath you Laptop or on the side of you PC)
* These keys will work in general same as Retail or Upgrade keys and can be used only once.
OEM SLP Product Keys activation:
* You need is an OEM SLP Product Key that matches the version of Windows Vista you have installed or are going to install.
(Home Basic, Home Premium, Business or Ultimate), plus the OEM certificate matching the SLIC table
* The OEM SLP Product Key does not have to match the OEM-brand certificate nor the OEM-brand BIOS ACPI_SLIC information.
(The only ones that need to match are the OEM-brand certificate and the OEM-brand BIOS ACPI_SLIC information.)
* SLP activation doesn't work with Vista Release Candidates or Vista Beta versions. Only the final version (RTM, Retail or OEM).
i.e.: A+B+C = Vista Activated Offline
OEM SLP Key + OEM Certificate + Full SLIC Table = Vista Activated Offline
If one (A,B or C) is missing, activation will fail!