If you used Dell Home basic CD to recover HP system it won't automatically activated as the CD key and certificate of the dell CD won't match with the HP system. In simple words Windows activates itself by comparing OEM CD key, OEM Certificate (both embedded in to the DVD image) and the BIOS of the system we restore. Dell CD contains a Dell OEM licence key and certificate which won't match with the 'software licencing table' embedded in to the BIOS of HP Laptop. Hence Win7 asks for activation if you install Dell OEM Win7 to HP.That is why we can't switch OEM recovery medias.
Best way to re install Windows on Laptops is to use either recovery media or recovery partition. If you can boot in to the desktop you can also use ABR to backup activation and re install using a retail disc like i explained earlier. If the customer lost their recovery CD or situations like recovery partition gone (HDD need replacement etc) i don't recommend ordering recovery media. Instead i will buy a retail copy of Win7 Home Basic (cheap and easy to activate). Cost of new recovery media and a retail copy is almost same. Microsoft don't even provide support for OEM OS. So retail Windows is always better than OEM.
In case of drivers i always recommend to look first in manufacturers website if i don't have a driver install CD. This is important in case of laptop as most of the drivers like Display, WLAN, Bluetooth and often sound drivers may be customized for that particular model. Laptop graphics are best examples. You can't install the Nvidia Geforce 430 driver of an Acer laptop to a HP laptop with same card. Same applies to ATI. Bluetooth and Wlan drivers are also system specific.
Some link to OEM driver download pages :
DELL : http://www.dell.com/support/drivers/us/en/19/drivershome/showproductselector
Acer : http://www.acer.com/worldwide/support/
There may be situation like drivers are missing in manufacturers site. For example you may want to install Win 7 32 in a laptop but the OEM may only provides driver for 64 bit OS (Dell and SONY are famous for it). In situation like this you may use generic drivers available from net. For example Intel display and chipset drivers are available from Intel's site. Realtek Audio, LAN and WLAN are available in their site. Other manufacturers don't provides direct driver download link for their products (ie Sigmatel, conexant, Soundmax , Broadcom , atheros etc). There is also generic driver collections are available on the net to help situation like this. For example "Driver Pack solution"
This a very use full and unavoidable universal driver install disc which can be used with both desktop and laptop.
Edited by Anshad Edavana, 28 April 2013 - 01:26 AM.