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Activation key storage.

Discussion in 'Windows XP' started by PDDET, Apr 20, 2010.

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  1. PDDET

    PDDET Thread Starter

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    My XP machine is getting a bit quirky and I'm thinking of doing a clean install. The problem is that the hard copy of the activation key to some of my favorite software is missing. Normally I save the e-mail confirmation, but a crash four years ago wiped out that avenue.

    My question is where does XP store the software activation keys? Is it stored in a readable form?
     
  2. Hermitt43

    Hermitt43

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  3. flavallee

    flavallee Trusted Advisor

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    Not to get off the subject here, but make sure that you have that computer's devices(chipset, graphics controller, audio controller, network adapter, etc.) identified and that you obtain and save the XP drivers for them before you start.

    Are you doing a clean install with an actual XP CD or with a recovery/restore CD kit?

    That's why I print off the e-mail or website confirmation notices and save them in a notebook.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------
     
  4. JennyJackson01

    JennyJackson01 Account Closed

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    Hiya PDDET.

    XP activation changes hexadecimal strings deep inside the registry and even if you find them, they`re not readable as anything particular unless you know how to read them.

    If you`re re-installing using the same hardware, there shouldn`t be a problem and you`ll be able to activate it again once it`s finished installing. If you change something major like the mobo & CPU and then try a re-install, you may have to use the phone on activation and explain why the machine is so different.

    Jenny
     
  5. Frank4d

    Frank4d Retired Trusted Advisor

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    You can retrieve your XP and Office keys using Magical Jellybean Keyfinder, or Belarc as posted above. Some of the others might be found in readable form in the registry. These are usually in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software, under a key or subkey that is the software product name or manufacturers name. If all else fails and you bought the product on the Internet, email the company and request the key.
     
  6. PDDET

    PDDET Thread Starter

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    Thanks to everyone who responded. Like everything else in life, it probably won't be as easy as I had hoped, but it won't be entirely impossible either.

    PDDET
     
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