View Full Version : Product Key - can you find it in the software you use?

19-08-2002, 05:09 PM
I was just reading through a previous thread where Mike helped a new person out. I got the impression that once you key in a Product Key (using Microsoft speak here but similar for most vendors) that you can't see what it is.

Is that true? Once you key it in it is gone forever, or is it hidden so you can't see it? What if you do lose it and want it for later reference or reinstall?

Are OEM Windows installations in the same boat? I can see a number in Win98 under the registration in Control Panel, System.


19-08-2002, 05:21 PM
Well, I'm told it's stored in the registry or in an INI file somewhere.
If you want, you can always search (Not for Win/Office XP) the net for "Serial Progname" and that has come up, I used to have a bogus winzip, but it's a real key now!!! otherwise, my friends use "Keygen Progname" and "Register Progname" or lastly "Hack Progname"

It's illiegal, but If you've lost your key, it's prolly okay as long as the cops don't find it... Don't come back to me if u r imprisoned, but that prolly won't happen :s


BTW, Moderators, this is not meant to be something for pplz to live by, just an answer to that question mike had, I wouldn't reccommen it in any other case!!!

19-08-2002, 05:26 PM
Hmmm .... on the other hand what do you do if you have a CD-Key/reg number but not the CD? According to Symantec (Norton Antivurus, pcAnywhere, etc) you go and buy a new copy. GRRRRRRRRRRR X-(

19-08-2002, 05:29 PM
Don't get me started on this stuff costing the owner of the software and doing sod all to protect the developer.
I am only asking in terms of whether there is an easy way to find out your legitimate key that you entered yourself. No dodgy ambitions here.

19-08-2002, 05:34 PM
I can definately see my product key in the registry (wind98) using the method I described in the post you are refering to. I can also see other details such as product-id, version number and stuff like that. My windows is an oem version installed on a new pc. Quite handy to know in case my paper copy goes awol.

19-08-2002, 05:38 PM
There are progs out there (Very hush-hush style) but I don't know of any that'll do it for ya specifically searching the registry. I know it can be done, I saw a prog on the net once, came across it whil looking for DAMN NFO Viewer....


19-08-2002, 05:38 PM
Hi Robbo, in most cases you can find regsitration keys easy enough (& Im not talking keygens ;-) ). For Windows, it usually has key values under the following path in the registry & in here there is a key called ProductID.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\Curr entVersion

Most vendors record their product keys in the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE area of the registry although sometimes its in binary so you could never decipher it. The majority of software vendors leave the reg key visible after successful installation - normally under a Help-about section within their program.

Hope I dont sound too dodgy - I just have a curious nature :-)

19-08-2002, 06:09 PM
There can be differences between what you see as a ProductID and the actual ProductKey....(which is whats on the CD case)

19-08-2002, 06:27 PM
oops, you are quite correct Godfather. Same path in the registry but ProductKey instead of ProductID. I have found many of my programs have the registration code (not ID) clearly visible in Help-About screens (for older programs anyway). If you have registered online I can understand losing a key but not from the CD itself.

19-08-2002, 06:28 PM
My product key and my product-id are totally different. The product key is exactly the same as on the certificate of authenticity. Got no idea where the product-id comes from though, but it has got oem in the middle of it.

19-08-2002, 10:00 PM
Yes, I searched in Regedit (got it from Mike's contribution to the other thread that got this started).
It is there, but stupid that it isn't somewhere easy. At least it can be found and saved for a rainy day.

19-08-2002, 11:13 PM
Robo if you are talking about the windows OS key just right click on My Computer/ Properties and you will find a long string of numbers with the second and third set being the key.

20-08-2002, 08:59 AM
I think that is the product ID, not the Key which you key in to get it installed. You can spot the Key in the registry, but the Windows one is the only one. The Office products seem to only have the ID.
In other words, when you install make damn sure you have the key kept somewhere in a safe place.

Pete O\'Neil
20-08-2002, 09:36 AM
you could use Sisoft Sandra that tells you ur CD Key and lots of other stupid info about ur installation of windows. Sorry dont have it installed currently so cant be more specific

Disaster zone
20-08-2002, 09:43 AM
Now that I know how to find this product key (thanks blondie) I'm going to try changing it in the registry on our work's computer. It needed a new hard drive recently and despite the boss supplying all the disks the shop went and used their own to reload Windows.

This was discovered when I went to reinstall Windows to try and fix something and the product key I used off our cd case wasn't accepted as valid. Until now we have been unsure what to do next so with a bit of luck our problem is about to be solved.

20-08-2002, 09:56 AM
To all,
I meant the product key and have found your comments and help most interesting.
I find it strange though that I own the product, by exchange of $$$$$$$
it is not mine, like buying a new car but the dealer keeps the keys.
Thanks to all. (smiley) don't know how to put them in.


20-08-2002, 04:29 PM
In Win95 the second and third set was the install key. I have used it many times to get the key before doing a reinstall for someone as so many people don't realise how important it is to retain the documentation.

20-08-2002, 05:28 PM
I agree with the book idea, only for me its a .txt file that I edit in notepad, readily available at the top of my start menu, great place for anything and everything to be put it!!!


Big John
20-08-2002, 05:39 PM
I know there is one for Windows XP. Just click on it and it reads your key. Have tried it on three machines and it got it every time so it is possible

20-08-2002, 05:50 PM
The file for viewing window xp Product Key is at this site....