If you have lost your Windows 7 or Windows 8 license key, you can still recover it from the computer or device where it is installed. Many programs were developed for recovering Windows 7 product keys but not that many work on Windows 8. That’s why I decided to test a couple of programs, identify those that work also with Windows 8 and share them with you. You never know when you need to recover your lost license key.
NOTE: Some of the programs that were tested in this roundup promise to also recover the license key for other products except Windows (e.g. Microsoft Office). I have a legal Microsoft Office 2013 installation and no program was able to read my product key. All of them seem to support only Microsoft Office 2010 and earlier versions. From this perspective, all of them need an upgrade.
Recovering Your Windows Product Key with Belarc Advisor 8.3b
Belarc Advisor 8.3b is a free program that you download and install on your computer. It doesn’t just show your Windows license key but also builds a detailed profile of your installed software and hardware, network inventory, missing Microsoft hotfixes, anti-virus status and security benchmarks.
When you run it, it spends quite a while analyzing the local network of your computer or device.
When done, the results are shown in a local web page. There is lots of information being shown and you might be lost at first.
If you look carefully, you’ll find a Software Licenses link on the right, which takes you to the section with the same name. There you will find several software licenses, including the one for your Windows installation.
This program works well but it spends more time to load the data you require because it looks for much more data than other programs. If you just want to learn your Windows product key, other programs are faster and better.
Recovering Your Windows Product Key with Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder 2.0
Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder 2.0 has a very weird name but it is a free program that works. When installing it, pay attention though, as it also tries to install a free game you might not want.
Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder 2.0 has a very simple interface and shows the information you are interested in quite fast.
Browse through the available sections, find the data you need and use it. This program is fast and it works quite well. Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder 2.0 is also able to display the product key for Microsoft Office, up to version 2010.
Recovering Your Windows Product Key with ProduKey v1.56
ProduKey v1.56 is a small utility that displays the ProductID and the CD-Key of Microsoft Office (only up to version 2007), Windows, Exchange Server, and SQL Server installed on your computer.
You download its archive, extract it and run ProduKey.exe. The program launches instantly and displays the appropriate product key information.
It is small, free, fast and easy to use. Highly recommended!
Recovering Your Windows Product Key with LicenseCrawler 1.28
LicenseCrawler 1.28 is a program free for personal use. Download its archive, extract it and run LicenseCrawler.exe.
When you run the program for the first time, you need to select the language you want to use and go through several prompts until you get to use it, including some annoying commercials.
LicenseCrawler is quite technical and, in order to find your Windows product key, you need to select your computer and press Start Search. Then, it takes a couple of minutes to scan your entire registry and display all the product key information it finds.
With LicenseCrawler you can find your Windows product key as well as the keys for other products installed on your computer, if such information is stored in the Windows registry.
Even though this product works well, novices and casual users will find it too technical and hard to use.
Which Programs are Best?
All the programs presented in this roundup work well at finding your Windows product key. Some may even find the product key of the different programs installed on your computer, including Microsoft Office. However, if all you need is a fast method for reading your Windows 7 or Windows 8 license key, I recommend you to try ProduKey v1.56 and Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder 2.0.