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<firstimage=”http://www.makeuseof.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/SerialNumbers03.png” />recover serial numbersHaving to re-install your Windows operating system How To Reinstall Windows Without Losing Your Data How To Reinstall Windows Without Losing Your Data Read More 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.

Jalapeno Keyfinder

recover serial numbers

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.

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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.

ProduKey

recover serial numbers

Supported software:

  • 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).

Windows Registry

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

  1. Shadow
    July 19, 2016 at 7:46 am

    To decode the key in the registry, copy the following between the *** to notepad, rename as productkey.vbs, and save to desktop. When you double click it, it pops up with the key, translated from your registry :)

    ***
    Set WshShell = CreateObject("WScript.Shell")
    MsgBox ConvertToKey(WshShell.RegRead("HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\DigitalProductId"))

    Function ConvertToKey(Key)
    Const KeyOffset = 52
    i = 28
    Chars = "BCDFGHJKMPQRTVWXY2346789"
    Do
    Cur = 0
    x = 14
    Do
    Cur = Cur * 256
    Cur = Key(x + KeyOffset) + Cur
    Key(x + KeyOffset) = (Cur \ 24) And 255
    Cur = Cur Mod 24
    x = x -1
    Loop While x >= 0
    i = i -1
    KeyOutput = Mid(Chars, Cur + 1, 1) & KeyOutput
    If (((29 - i) Mod 6) = 0) And (i -1) Then
    i = i -1
    KeyOutput = "-" & KeyOutput
    End If
    Loop While i >= 0
    ConvertToKey = KeyOutput
    End Function

    ***

    • Tina Sieber
      July 19, 2016 at 8:33 pm

      Thank you for sharing this trick!

      Unfortunately, this didn't work right away. I got an "invalid character" error in line 1, char 29. Curly quotes seem to break the code. Fixed it, got another error for a dash in line 20 char 10, fixed that too, tried again, and it worked.

      I took the liberty to edit your comment and fix your code above.

      On Windows 10, if you upgraded from Windows 7 or 8.1 using digital entitlement, it will only show the generic product key. Check out this article on how to find your original Windows 7 / 8.1 product key: Everything You Should Know About Windows Product Keys

      • Tina Sieber
        July 19, 2016 at 8:38 pm

        Turns out our comment formatting might be to blame. Anyway, it's fixed. :)

        • Shadow
          July 20, 2016 at 2:59 am

          My bad, yeah the formatting is a bit buggy, plus one of my friends said it doesn't work on his win10 laptop, but it does on his win10 desktop :/ But I found it very helpful, and no software required :)

        • Tina Sieber
          July 20, 2016 at 3:06 am

          It worked on my Windows 10 laptop (Insider Preview), but it only gives you the generic key.

    • Shadow
      July 23, 2016 at 10:38 am

      I didn't post it to activate it without your key - it's how to FIND your key when it's embedded in Windows. I had to find it like this when I reinstalled Windows 7 after a nasty virus took it out, otherwise it wouldn't have activated. Since it was the same key on the same computer, it was fine. It also works if your old computer has bugged out, you've wiped it, and/or are installing the same OS on another computer - because then it's only on one computer - JUST like their T&Cs state it must be :)

  2. Original_diff
    July 9, 2010 at 6:45 am

    Belarc Advisor is a great way to capture the license keys installed on your system.

  3. KenM
    June 8, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    If you back up your system with UBCD4Win and Driveimage XML, there is no need to recover serial numbers again. The reinstall takes about 20 minutes and your image is exactly as the old.

  4. Tomas Akinfeev
    May 21, 2010 at 5:09 am

    This is so useful I try this and it's ok

  5. Scott_T
    May 19, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    google 'preserving windows activation' also for doing reinstalls without having to activate again. handy if ms starts hassling you about doing too many.

  6. Tina
    May 18, 2010 at 9:03 pm

    Yes, that's a good one, too! Karl had already covered it in this article, which I linked to above: http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/r...

  7. Nat Jay
    May 18, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    These are pretty useful utilities & tips. I usually write down my serial numbers in a notepad file, or simply on pieces of paper (I know, not very techy). It's nice to find a better way to do those things now.

  8. sfmitch
    May 18, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    Don't forget about Magical Jelly Bean keyfinder - it works great!

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