So as you may be aware, it is possible to automate the installation of a Windows operating system. Basically the "Dell" installation CD is really just Windows XP + specific device drivers embedded into the install process and possibly other Dell specific items. I suspect that you should be able to get through the installation minus device drivers.
With regard to the keys, Home edition and professional will have different keys. otherwise, people would buy the home edition and use the key on professional.
The answer is "it depends". Most OEM Windows installations will check to see if the hardware is supported - device drivers have little to do with it. I know that HP Windows installation discs won't work with non-HP gear - I've tried it. I would suspect that Dell versions are similar in behavior. A purchased retail version will install on any compatible hardware, so you may have to reconcile yourself with purchasing a retail version, or switch to Linux which is free... :-)
Like they've said, the biggest issue will probably only be the drivers. In the worst case, you won't have a working ethernet driver. This is a bad thing because you cannot automate driver updates without this... (You need the internet to find drivers.) I have had this problem many times installing new OSs. If this ends up being the case, you can find the ethernet card model by right clicking my computer and selecting properties, then hardware. From there, you can look up the driver for the OS for your specific card. If you end up not having an ethernet card compatibility issue then finding drivers for the rest of the hardware will be simple. Just go into control panel, classic view, add hardware, wait for it to finish scanning, click yes already attached (or something like that) and select the hardware you want to find a driver for. This can be tedious because it only allows you to install one driver at a time. The most serious issues will probably be not having usb mouse/keyboard connection, in which case you'll need to use a classic non-usb keyboard/mouse initially, and the video card (this will be apparent if your screen is set to 600 x 800 or the like). Again use add hardware in control panel to find the drivers! Any help needed, let us know!
I have similar issue with the post discused above. I have new custom built computer and my son installed window 7, most of my really old programs are for window xp, so we bought another internal hard drive. Our plan was to install Xp on 2nd internal hard drive and then install my old program like old PhotoShop, Illustration and Singer Futura Embriodery etc.,
We installed the Window XP Pro from the CD I got from Dell laptop I bought 7 years ago. I didn't get the product key from the CD because back then the computer was pre-installed with Window XP Pro, Dell didn't include the CD with the laptop. I had to specifically request Dell to send me Window XP Pro CD as back up. I'm not sure the what the problem is - wether I don't have the product key for Window XP Pro or the Dell driver CD, we can't set up internet.
If I get a OEM XP Pro, would that work for my new computer?
The trouble with OEM licenses, is they also activate via hardware id's. Each component inside your computer has a hardware id so windows can identify it, and sometimes, definately with windows vista/7 but i think it includes xp, if the hardware is too different from what the OEM key specifies, then it may not allow you to activate.