Product Key



My hard drive has crashed, and I have the original disk,
but not the product key. Can I get the product key from
the orignal CD?



Bruce Chambers

Greetings --

No, the Product Key isn't anywhere on the CD, in any form. When
you stop and think about it for a moment, that would be rather like
storing your house keys in the lock, wouldn't it?

The Windows 25-character Product Key (required to perform the
installation) is stored on the CD packaging on a bright orange sticker
that says "Do not lose this number." If it was an OEM (factory
installed) license, it's stored on a label that the PC manufacturer
affixed to the exterior of the PC case, or on the bottom of a laptop.

To recover a lost Product Key:

If your system still runs, you should be able to use Belarc
Advisor from to find the
Product Key. (If you have a factory-installed OEM license, and
haven't since reinstalled the OS, the revealed Product Key is probably
of the drive image used at the factory and not _your_ specific Product
Key; therefore, it probably cannot be -- and definitely should not
be -- used for a re-installation.)

If it was a retail license and you have proof of purchase:

How to Replace Lost, Broken, or Missing Microsoft Software or Hardware;en-us;326246

If it was an OEM license, you should contact whomever sold you the
computer; although very few manufacturers/vendors keep records of the
Product Keys they've sold, it's worth a try before you have to buy a
new license.

Bruce Chambers
Help us help you:

You can have peace. Or you can have freedom. Don't ever count on
having both at once. - RAH

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