Scott, is there currently a particularly good way for the average end-user to reload an OEM version of a Windows operating system?
The best way is to boot from the OEM media and then follow the prompts.
What should one tell a Microsoft representative over the phone when it comes time for reactivation?
When installing from OEM media having a COA (Certificate of Authenticity) with an unused product key there should be no need to speak to a MS rep. However if the COA has been applied to a system or the key was previously used then a telephone activation
may be required. In that case it is normally automated and you wouldn't have to speak to a person. If the key is activated more than a certain (unknown) number of times then it may be necessary to speak to a rep and indicate the situation. OEM keys are normally tied to the first system they are used on and are non-transferable, the only exception I know of is a motherboard failure. Scott.