How to Find the Software Key in the Registry


The registry is a complete database formulated and used by Windows operating systems for running programs. Each program has a unique registry key, or product key, which is stored in the registry. In addition, some programs may have multiples keys. There are five locations in the registry that may contain registry keys for a program: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT, HKEY_CURRENT_USER, HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, HKEY_USERS and HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG. Locating a key involves using a built-in program to search the registry. Modifying the registry should only be done by a professional computer technician.

  • Back up your registry before doing anything. Follow the instructions for backups provided by Microsoft.

  • Hit the "Start" button and click "Run." A window will pop up. Type "regedit" and click "OK." This will open the registry for searching.

  • Click on "Edit" then "Find." This brings up a box.

  • Type the program name in the field and click "Find Next." The computer will search the registry for the program and return instances where the name appears in order.

  • Click "Find Next" to scroll through all the instances in the registry, writing down the keys as you go.

Tips & Warnings

  • Follow all directions step by step and do not modify or change anything else. The registry becomes corrupted easily when altered.

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