Using an Original COA Activation Key for XP Pro with New SP2 Restore Disk
It's twistier than that, but as the others have pointed out, it'll work reasonably well.
In another thread: I asked for advice on selecting an external hard drive for backups. I purchased a Seagate PushButton Backup model...
If you boot from a Dell restore disk, it won't even ask you for the key, but will use a Dell OEM key that's common to a whole range of Dell PCs. This will work fine, and even pbutt Windows Genuine Advantage Validation.
If you boot from a Microsoft CD, it'll ask you for the key off the COA sticker on the side of the machine. This key may not work (without a phone call to a M$ Customer Service Rep explaining the situation), but eventually you'll be able to make it work, and then it'll pbutts WGAV.
The point to remember is that you have a valid license to run that version of WinDoze (check the sticker for the details of the version, XP Home, XP Pro, XP WME, etc) on that machine. You are not (legally) allowed to move that key number to another machine, but you have a license, and it's fairly easy to make it work.
BackupImaging Software 1599
I use Ghost Enterprise Versions 7 and 8 at work to put disk images on multiple like platform machines. The Enterprise Editions support Multicast Imaging via networks whereas...
If you change too many of the hardware details of the machine, you may have to revalidate, and if you revalidate too often in a certain period of time you'll have to call and talk to a person again, so make sure your hardware is stable before you start the process.