How to Retrieve the License or Product Keys in my Previous Computer?

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When you purchase a computer software or program, like Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop, or even Windows Operating System (XP, Vista, 7 or 9), you will need to register your purchase using a License Key, also called a Product Key during or after installation.

How to retrieve license or product keys

A Product Key is in varying format depending on the software that the product key is intended for. For instance, Microsoft Windows uses a 25-alphanumeric characters for its product keys. Adobe and other software vendors have different key formats. However, only one thing is common: It is used to "license" or legalize your use of their software and it is entered during or after the installation of the software.

How to Recover the Product Key of Installed Software

Consider this scenario. Your computer crashed and then you decided to get a brand new computer. And you want to install the software like Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop from the old computer to the new one. You found your installation DVDs or the installation files, but you cannot locate your Product Keys. How would you proceed?

Product Keys or License Keys are delivered to you in 2 ways. First, when you buy an installation kit, it contains the DVD installer and the Product Key is usually printed in a sticker located in the DVD box or case. Second, when you bought the software online, then the Product Key is sent to you through email upon receipt of your payment. When you are looking for your Product Key, just locate the DVD kit and look for the sticker, or search your emails and see if you can retrieve the email containing the product key.

Recover Product Key Using Software

If you cannot locate the DVD kit or the email containing the Product Key, it is not the end of the world. As long as the old computer still works after the crash, and that you are certain that you entered the Product Key during or after the installation, there is still a way to recover the keys using certain software.

Here are some free software that can allow you to dig your computer and retrieve or recover the Product Keys installed in your computer.

Using Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder

The Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder is a freeware utility that retrieves your Product Key (CD Key), also called License Keys, used to install windows or other programs from your registry. Since it is a freeware, it has a community-updated configuration file that retrieves product keys for many other applications. Another cool feature of Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder is its ability to retrieve product keys from unbootable Windows installations.

Using Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder to recover product keys

You can download it in this LINK. Features and reviews are found HERE.

Using Belarc Advisor

Belarc Advisor is another free tool that does not only retrieves your product keys, it will also report your system information up to several levels deep. It's fast, easy to use, and gives you a surprisingly digestible report of what makes up your computer system.

Using Belarc Advisor to retrive product keys

Belarc Advisor provides you a detailed report on your software license information. It is good at finding the correct product key or serial number for your installed programs.

Even if you are not concern of retrieving your product keys, you can use Belarc Advisor to manage your licenses especially in corporate settings, necessary when upgrading hardware.

You can download it HERE.

There are still many free tools out there that you can use to scan your computer (working or not) for the product keys that you once used to install your program. But these two (2) tools can suffice your needs, as they can surely recover the product keys from your old computers.