If you happen to lose your CD, DVD or the label packaging that comes with the product key printed on, try the following software before formatting your comp. Chances are, you might be able to retrieve the lost genuine license key information or product key from the existing Windows registry.
Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder – Best product key finder freeware utility
This is by far the most powerful serial number retriever in the market; The Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder is a freeware open source utility that retrieves your Genuine Product Key (CD key or serial number) used to install Windows from your registry, even from unbootable Windows installations. It works on Windows 95, 98, ME, 2000, XP, Vista, Server 2003, Server 2008, Office XP, Office 2003, Office 2007, Adobe Photoshop CS4, and many more.
ProduKey – Recover lost Windows product key
No, that was not a typo error, ProduKey is a small and light utility that recovers the ProductID and the CD-Key of MS-Office, Windows, Exchange Server, and SQL Server installed on your computer. Fairly straight forward program, and its free.
CD Key Reader – Product Key Finder for MS Windows & Office
Another free product key retriever, performs the same task of finding the serial number for Windows XP, Windows 7, Vista, Office 2007, Office 2013, Office 365 in your comp.
I own an Acer Laptop and it comes bundled with Windows XP OEM version, meaning to say, I paid for the license key. When the laptop reaches the end of its product cycle or I decided to upgrade to a newer laptop with no operating system, to my horror I discovered that Windows XP refuses to accept my product key which I paid for together with my previous laptop, from my understanding, the specific key is tied down with the hardware (acer), likewise, a Windows OEM key meant for Dell will only works with dell machines, probably I am wrong. That is so unfair, I paid for the license, and shouldn’t I have the liberty to transfer it to another comp if I choose so?
There got to be a way to work this around.