<firstimage=”http://www.makeuseof.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/SerialNumbers03.png” />Having to re-install your Windows operating system is nothing unheard of. Unfortunately, it has to be done at regular intervals. Before you start however, not only make sure all your data is backed up, but also that you have all the serial numbers of programs you would like to reinstall.
Should you find that you have lost the keys for some of your software, chances are you can recover the serial numbers. You could either search the Windows registry, which stores serial numbers, or use a handy tool that will look up all available numbers for you.
Supported software (selected):
- Microsoft Windows 2000, XP, 2003, Vista
- Microsoft Office XP, 2003, 2007
- Microsoft ActiveSync 4.2
- Microsoft Money 12.0 and 14.0
- Microsoft SQL Server 2000 and 2005
- Microsoft Visual Studio 2005, Basic 2005 Express, Web Developer 2005 Express, C# 2005 Express, Basic 2003
- Microsoft Works 7.0 and 8.0
- Acdsee 6 through 9
- Ahead Nero 7
- Corel DRAW 12 and 13
- Macromedia Dreamweaver 4 through 8
- Norton System Works
- The Sims
Jalapeno Keyfinder is the perfect tool to recover Microsoft serial numbers or registration keys besides other Windows software. It’s a small utility, super fast, and easy to use. As soon as you launch it, it will find compatible software installed on your PC and decrypt the keys for you.
If you go to the developer’s homepage, you’ll find that the latest version 2.0 is no longer free. Version 1.06, however, is available for free through Major Geeks. A full list of supported software can be seen here.
- Microsoft Windows Vista and 7
- Microsoft Office 2003, 2007
- Microsoft Exchange Server
- Microsoft SQL
When you unzip and run this tool your antivirus program may display an alert. This is a false positive alarm. You can read more about it here.
Obviously, I removed my Product ID and Key information from the above screenshot.
To view the product key information of software installed on another computer or within another operating system, you can use several command line options as outlined on ProduKey’s download page. /remoteall for example will enumerate all computers on your local network.
For more options that may help you recover your serial numbers, have a look at Karl’s posts User LicenseCrawler To Recover Your Lost Software Serial Numbers and Recover Your Lost XP, Vista & Office Serial Numbers. Simon wrote an article on How To Recover Your Lost Video Game Keys (Windows).
If the tools above fail to retrieve your product key, you may still be able to find it in your registry. Go to > Start > Run, type > regedit and click > OK. Click > [Ctrl] + [F] to launch the search window. Then search the registry for the software in question. Keep hitting > F3 for the next matching entry, until the serial numbers shows up in the data column.
It may be difficult to spot the correct value. Additionally, many programs decrypt the keys stored in the registry, for example Windows itself. In that case it will be impossible to retrieve the numbers.
In case you’re desperately seeking to recover a serial number that you lost and can’t retrieve with the tools above because you can no longer access that computer, try Find Serial Number. To be used in emergencies only!
Did you have luck finding your keys?
Image credits: srbichara