WHY have a product key and a validation code???

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my windows vista 'my computer' screen, says that  'windows is
activated'. but i didnt put a product key into it when i installed it.
so whats goin on?????    why do microsoft have a 'product key' on the
box for vista, and how ids that different to validating it????   how
can be sure that my computer is not going to boot up after 14 days or
so because of validation reasons??? im totally confused

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