How To Recover Your Lost Video Game Keys (Windows)

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Every gamer knows that video game keys are immensely important.

Of course, online serials or No-CD cracks can be found quickly, but for online games, amongst other things, an authentic serial code is a simple necessity.

Now you may be the school example of tidiness, keeping an alphabetical list of games, alphabetically sorting all yours by size, but most probably not.

If you’re even somewhat like me, often losing track of something after a mere five minutes, you can get in a lot of trouble – without those tiny scribblings, your sixty-dollar game becomes a useless piece of plastic.

Turning the house upside down might present a solution, but other methods don’t require quite so much bother. After all, we’re living in the digital age now.

Game Key Revealer

All your games’ serial codes get stored in the registry upon install – some even remain after removing the game in question! Though possible, manually searching these keys in the registry maze is a time-devastating task.

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Luckily for you and I, people have been developing applications that can scan the registry in the search of keys from specific programs or games.

Game Key Revealer is one of these applications, supporting over 500 popular computer games from big-time game publishers like Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, THQ and LucasArts. Retrieving game keys of recent and popular games should be as easy as the flick of a mouse.

It really is that easy, running the executable and pressing one button to reveal most – probably even all game keys on your computer.

Now you’ve retrieved those keys, it’s advised to store it somewhere for safekeeping. Send yourself an email, save it on your stick, or print it out.

Game Key Revealer lets you export the keys to Notepad or Microsoft Word through File-Save.

Manually Retrieving a Key

It might happen though, that your game isn’t supported or found by the Game Key Revealer. If that’s the case, you can always manually scan the registry.


Note that a computer’s registry is an extremely delicate place. Making mistakes – such as altering or deleting the wrong date – can easily mess up your whole system. Before working with the registry, always make a full back-up.

MakeUseOf will not be held responsible for any mistakes you make, nor any consequences of your actions – you’re a big boy/girl.

The process itself is easy enough. Do note that this is a hit’n miss technique. You might not find the key you’re looking for, or only be able to view it in encrypted format.

Searching the Registry

First we’re going to open the Registry Editor.

In Windows XP, go to Start -> Run… and type “regedit”.
In Windows Vista/7, go to Start and type “regedit” in the search box.

In the Registry Editor, press Ctrl+F or go to Edit -> Find…

Query for the game’s name, and wait for (any) results. Depending on your registry and the speed of your computer, this might take a few seconds or a few minutes.

If the serial key is not amongst the presented results, press F3 or go to Edit -> Find Next. The different pieces of data that relate to the game are often scattered across different pieces of the registry.

I hope this worked out for you. Do you know any other techniques to recover game keys? Or do you have a question about one of these? Don’t be shy, spill it out in the comments.

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