How to Find Key Codes in Windows

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In an attempt to curb software piracy, many modern software programs ship with "Product Key" authentication methods. This method uses a randomly generated, 15-25 digit alphanumeric string of characters to verify that you have a legitimate piece of software. While this method has proved moderately effective in deterring software pirates, it can be mildly inconvenient for the legitimate consumer who has difficulty locating these product keys, which are typically attached to the original packaging of the product. Software programs such as Keyfinder can be utilized to locate a program's key code within your computer's registry.

Things You'll Need

  • Windows operating system
  • Keyfinder freeware

Automated Method

  • Point your web browser at the Keyfinder website. In the "Downloads" section, click the link for the latest version of the software Keyfinder. Save the program file to your desktop or a location you can easily remember.

  • Double-click the downloaded program file to launch the Keyfinder. Select the program for which you'd like to find the authentication key in the panel on the left.

  • Right-click on the authentication key in the panel on the right and select "Copy." Open your favorite word processing or spreadsheet application and "Paste" your key into a document.

Manual Method

  • Select "Run" from the Start menu and type "regedit" (without quotes) and press "Enter." In Windows Vista and 7, type "regedit" (without quotes) into the search bar at the bottom of the Start menu and press "Enter."

  • Locate the desired program's registry entry. Keep in mind that the Windows registry is thousands of lines of code, most of which is necessary for the computer to run, so altering any part of it may have disastrous consequences. You may have to contact your software's developer to find out exactly where in your registry the product key is stored.

  • Right-click on the registry key containing your product key and select "Copy." Paste it into your favorite word processing or spreadsheet application for record keeping purposes.

Tips & Warnings

  • Sharing your authentication key with others is usually against the End User License Agreement.

References

  • Photo Credit cd on cd image by Stephen Kirkby from Fotolia.com
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