Lost Windows Product Code - Have CD

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Thread Starter
Nov 9, 2001
I am trying to install Windows 98 on my sons new to us but used computer. I have the CD for Windows 98 ( I now use ME) but forgot that I needed to keep the packaging. I put the CD in one of those multiple CD wallets about 2 years ago. The used computer was totally blank. I installed DOS 6.22 but now in a dilemma over Windows 98. What can I do? How do I contact Microsoft for free and ask them? How can I get the info I need off the disk?
Oct 9, 2001
Sorry, that is against the rules of the board, posting of cd keys is not allowed. I am removing the key that has been posted.
Jun 27, 2000
prideouts: The CD key for any Win98 installation will work. You can get it off of the certificate of authenticity or extract it from the registry. Win98 and Win98SE are not interchangeable.

You can’t extract it from the CD itself – MS isn’t that dumb. If you registered it way back when, MS will probably give you the key. Try signing up for their free support and someone there might be able to get it to you or give you the steps to get it. You just have to sign up for passport – not a bad thing to have anyway. https://register.passport.com/reg.s...t=1005347208&tw=14400&ts=-15&ver=1.990.1052.1


Retired Administrator
Jan 27, 2001
Slipe, are you sure? It's never worked for me......the cd key for any win 98 installation cd???? Anytime I get mine mixed up they cry foul :(
Jun 27, 2000
Well, $teve’s probably going to yell at me, but someone e-mailed me his key once when my daughter lost her little manual with the certificate on it and also lost the case. It worked fine.

I had read that the CDs are pressed from a die and they all have to respond to the same key. Looking into it further, there are different builds that include various service releases. They would also have different ones for retail, upgrade and OEM. MS would probably generate a new key on any new die they pressed, so you are correct that you could get the wrong one.

The correct statement is that there are a limited number of product keys – I actually have the list and forgot about it.
Sep 19, 1999
I am curious if when prideouts installed WinME over the previous Win98 installation, did it leave the previous key in place and just add another or did it remove the Win98 key. I would guess it was replaced.
Nov 25, 2000
Hi prideouts,

Welcome to these pages.
I see this is your first posting,
so i'll try to say it step by step and keep it basic OK.

If you have a computer that still runs OK with
WIN98 installed from the disk that you have then you
can get to the OEM number by following these easy steps.
They will make no changes to your computer.

I'll assume you dont get the 'Welcome Screen'
anymore cos everyone kicks it out.
You may have your display in 'Web Page View'
But im giving this for the normal windows view OK.

So put the cursor over My Computer and give it a
normal double left click,
Up should come a window with floppy, harddrive, D drive, printers
letters (A), (C), (D), should be there. If not come back and say so
Now put the cursor over the harddrive(C) and highlight it
by giving it one normal click.
move up to File, give that one click, you should get a drop down
menu, go to explore and give that a click.
If its small make it bigger.
Now have a look on the left part of the window, look at the
list associated with the harddrive(C) which should be highlighted in blue. Look down that list at or near the bottom you should find
Windows next to a yellow folder and a little box with a cross.

Dont worry you're just having a look, this makes no changes.

Put the cursor on the word Windows, and give it a click.
Now look in the other side panel, and scroll up past the yellow folders,
Thats the right hand side, they're in alphabetical order, scroll up,
you're looking for 'W'
Got the patch of W's, one of them says 'Welcome'

Now you may or may not get a bit of music next,
but dont worry this will make no changes to your machine.
put the cursor on the word welcome and give it a double click.

Now you should have the Welcome screen come up,
normally it has music too.

OK so far?

where were we.... the welcome screen, yes?
now it has four choices (usually)
pick the one called register now and give it a click,
up comes a registration panel dont worry we're only
having a look, not registering OK.

choose next, then next again, now theres a bit to fill in,
put a dot in 'home' and click in the space for last name,
put any letter in there, an n for name will do,
click on next, now a city, c for city will do,
click on next, and next again,
Now you should have up a System Inventory,
This should be whats in the computer, you may want to note it down.
Now put a dot into yes or no, you have to choose one,
then click on next.

That should present you with the OEM number.

Now to come back out, press cancel, then press yes to quit.



Jul 3, 1999
Thanks Paul for noticing that. I edited out all of the comments to clear it up.
May 6, 2000
Paul, to answer your question, I don't know. I always do a clean install and never had the chance to check to see if it is the same or if it changes.

I got in the habit of writing down the number because for some reason I work on a lot of E-machines and usually I take their programming out and just install win98 clean and this gives me the number so I can install win98 using just the cabs files.

The next one I do I will have to check and see if the number changes but I don't think it does.
Jun 27, 2000
As I understand prideouts’ post he has two computers: His computer which has Win ME installed and one he bought blank for his son which he installed DOS 6.22 on. He has his old Win98 CD but can’t find the code.

Many of these posts are interesting as an intellectual exercise but they have nothing to do with solving his problem.
Sep 19, 1999
As i see it, you are exactly right concerning the computer/OS situation. The help in solving the problem is various work arounds to the problem of just giving out a product code which is against the board rules. Many people new to this board/computers learn something from discussions like this even if the problem is not directly solved. I personally look forward to an answer to if a product code is overwritten during an OS update(Win98 to ME), or if both are kept in case of a rollback to the previous system. I know a clean install would remove the data, but an upgrade might just save the data for the old OS, which would help prideouts find the product code, if he is still reading or ever posts back.
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