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Hey, Hey, Hey!

AskTheAdmin here again with another free tool that I can’t live without. As the admin I have literally over 10,000 servers in production. Most of them are on the same corporate open license program and have the same serial number and need no activation. BUT there are more than a few machines that are not owned by my company and were installed, configured and shipped to us as-is.

When one of these machines crash or are about to fail there is little I can do other than call the respective company’s support staff. I hate relying on other people!

Now perhaps I need to build a quick replacement for one of these machines – say a label printing machine on loan from UPS or in your case maybe your home file server. Now if you don’t have the serial (aka product key) number for reinstalling – it is going to be a real… pardon my French… BITCH!

If the machine is still up and running and you have access to it you can install a tiny program that will give you the serial numbers for installed Microsoft Products including Vista, XP, 2000 and any office suite right up to our current 2007 offering.

It is free, totally safe and something that lives on my memory stick (it’s a portable app 100 Portable Apps for your USB Stick (for Mac and Win) 100 Portable Apps for your USB Stick (for Mac and Win) Read More ). Let’s take a look at how it works.

You can download it securely from SourceForge here.
and the main site for it is over here.

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No need to install it – just run the ‘exe’ from inside the zip file and it will return a screen that looks similar to this:

recover windows xp product key

Your products will be displayed and there are the corresponding serial keys! Sweet! You will notice off the tools menu an option that looks like this:

windows product key viewer

recover windows serial number

It will let you change the registered user name for Windows or Office. Very handy.

When researching the newest version of this tool for my article (I was using a 2 year old version) I found this little chunk of information which made me smile:

It also has a community-updated configuration file that retrieves product keys for many other applications.

So it not only works for M$ applications but through a little forum magic you can make it work with almost anything that stores its password information in the registry! Double Sweet.

And then as if that wasn’t enough I continued reading and saw this:

Another feature is the ability to retrieve product keys from unbootable Windows installations.

Unbootable Windows Installations? This is a straight up life saver! Who knew I could like my little Magical JellyBean App any more! Just do yourself a favor and NOT tell people what it is called! Unless you are prepared for STRANGE and Dirty Looks!

  1. Ogans Barnabas Chinonso
    April 27, 2009 at 7:03 pm

    I have a vista ultimate vasion that got expired but i raley want to fix it.What do i do?

  2. Peter D
    January 8, 2009 at 1:07 pm

    Is there a similar app for macintosh?

    • Karl L. Gechlik | AskTheAdmin.com
      January 8, 2009 at 1:11 pm

      No, not that I know of. If any of our readers know... I am all ears!

  3. 1fastbullet
    November 27, 2008 at 10:31 pm

    Irene, I'm afraid I didn't hear your response to the question. Could you please speak up?? Ah, well, Goodnight Irene.

    Karl, I wish I cold explain how very valuable and timely this is. I just lucked up on four de-commisioned XP machines...

    Thanks.

    • Karl L. Gechlik | AskTheAdmin.com
      January 8, 2009 at 1:12 pm

      Sorry for the delayed response 1fastBullet - but I am very glad to have helped!

  4. Irene
    November 21, 2008 at 7:59 am

    "Recover Keys" retrieve CD keys for more than 750 products and have an ability to change keys, save or print the list of CD keys, retrieve CD keys on network computers, retrieve CD keys of programs which are installed on second HDD and a lot of other small features. (recover-keys.com)

    • Karl L. Gechlik
      November 21, 2008 at 9:26 am

      but it's $20.00 - I'm pretty sure we can get most of this functionality from a free (or a few free) apps.

      Not that I don't like supporting developers - but I'd rather MAKEUSEOF what I can for FREE!

      :)

      Irene are you affiliated with them?

  5. distordz
    September 5, 2008 at 9:08 am

    You can also use Belarc Advisor, it's a free soft

  6. Travis Quinnelly
    September 4, 2008 at 9:43 am

    Nice one Karl. I've been using the Magical Jelly Bean for quite some time and it has been a lifesaver.

  7. jason
    September 3, 2008 at 2:55 pm

    another alternative and supplies even more info is SIW -- http://www.gtopala.com/
    Quite effective
    * Software: Operating System, Installed Software and Hotfixes, Processes, Services, Users, Open Files, System Uptime, Installed Codecs, Software Licenses (Product Keys / Serial Numbers / CD Key), Secrets (Password Recovery).
    * Hardware: Motherboard, Sensors, BIOS, CPU, chipset, PCI/AGP, USB and ISA/PnP Devices, Memory, Video Card, Monitor, Disk Drives, CD/DVD Devices, SCSI Devices, S.M.A.R.T., Ports, Printers.
    * Network: Network Cards, Network Shares, currently active Network Connections, Open Ports.
    * Tools: Eureka! (Reveal lost passwords hidden behind asterisks), MAC Address Changer, Monitor Test, Shutdown / Restart.
    * Real-time monitors: CPU, Memory, Page File usage and Network Traffic.

  8. Erlend
    September 3, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    Dude, it's really easy to read your serial number through the *transparent* purple colour.

    • Karl L. Gechlik
      September 3, 2008 at 7:15 pm

      So what is it then? Am I that hard of seeing? Am I getting old?

      • Nicole
        September 4, 2008 at 5:18 am

        I think you can just about see it but you can't really read all of it.
        here's what I have and I am not sure about those I got either:
        PSHQ5-2492P-MDTRF-F49**-D*R9Q

        • Karl L. Gechlik
          September 4, 2008 at 7:16 am

          Not even close :)

          You got 10 random character right! But that and $8.50 will buy you a pack of cigarettes! LMAO

          Any other guesses?

        • Nicole
          September 4, 2008 at 7:19 am

          ... which is the point I was trying to make - to debunk the original comment.

        • Karl L. Gechlik
          September 4, 2008 at 7:47 am

          Thanks Nicole!

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