No matter how careful you are, you can still lose your Windows product key, particularly if you accidentally lose the box that held the Windows CD when you purchased it. The first solution most people think about when they have this problem is to call Microsoft technical support for assistance, but such persons soon realize that the Microsoft is not prepared to give them any help in that regard. You might take the decision to buy another product key or even get a new Windows license, rather than wasting valuable time searching through different DVD/CD cases that you have accumulated over the years. Purchasing another Windows license would be a big mistake. Depending on the version of windows that runs on your computer, you can recover the product key by using the windows registry. This will work for all versions of Windows apart from Windows Vista and Windows 7.
Where has the Product Key Gone to?
The product key has always been stored within the registry right up to Windows XP. You will usually find it by following this path: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESSOFTWAREWindowsProductsID. Sadly, this no longer applies since Windows Vista was created. It appears Microsoft did not want users to easily find their product key, so when any user loses one, he or she has to purchase another license. The use of Magic JellyBean KeyFinder will eliminate the need for you to purchase another product key. It is an app that will help you locate your Windows product key by searching through your Windows installation.
Another thing you should know is that Windows “ProductID” no longer displays the key; instead it displays a special identification that Microsoft uses to tell the difference between two Windows installations. They use this to stop 2 Windows installations from making use of Windows Update, because the company’s policy does not permit using a copy of Windows to install more than one PC.
First, KeyFinder’s ZIP file should be downloaded using this link. After opening the ZIP, it should be extracted to a folder with a name that you can easily remember on your desktop or within your local hard disk. The folder should contain a file named “KeyFinder.exe” After you double click this file; a screen that resembles the one below will appear.
The screen above shows that it is possible to recover product keys of other programs installed on your PC, but that depends on whether such programs have a key. The product keys of certain applications are stored in a file inside their respective folders. If you are searching for the product key for that kind of program, your investigation may have to be a little deeper.
If you cannot locate your Windows product key manually, you can find it using handy apps like Magic JellyBean Keyfinder. If Keyfinder fails to work for you, another application that you will find helpful is Belarc Advisor. This app provides you with a complete audit of your PC but adds the product key also. If you still cannot locate your product key after you have tried everything, you can try calling Microsoft for help. You just might get lucky and get your product key replaced.
You should form the habit of backing up your license key as soon as you lay your hands on the DVD/CD. You can use your mobile phone to take a photograph of your license key and get the image uploaded to your Google+ account, or your Dropbox, so that anytime you want it, it will not be difficult to get it.
Your questions and comments will be most welcome.