Product keys, software licenses, serial numbers — they all seem to disappear completely when you need them most. Perhaps you need to reinstall a program, or worse, an entire operating system, but can’t locate the original case, manual, or that ancient email you deleted more than a year ago. It’s not a far-fetched scenario by any means, and finding the missing info will definitely take up a chunk of your time, primarily in the form of dealing with customer service for longer than you would like.
Fortunately, there are scores of product key finders that will scan your system and compile an extensive report of any keys they find. The best part? The bulk of them don’t cost a dime! Below are our picks for the best product key finders so you can jot down, print, or take a screenshot of all your precious keys in one place. Oh, and try not to lose them this time around.
Belarc Advisor is overkill when it comes to finding product keys, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The comprehensive utility is an industrious system information tool that will quickly pull together a summary of your system’s hardware and software, providing you with a detailed report that includes your various information about your machine’s RAM, processor, and motherboard, among other things.
It also includes a list of software licenses for Microsoft Office, Windows, antivirus programs, and heaps of other applications and software installed on your system. Despite being more than just a key finder, the program leaves a relatively small footprint on your computer, which is always a plus.
The Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder
The Magical Jelly Bean’s Keyfinder is another great piece of shareware, but you will have to opt for the premium version ($30) if you want a more extensive list of product keys and serial numbers for programs like Adobe Photoshop and the rest of the Adobe CS suite (here’s how to find your Adobe keys for free). The premium version of Magical Jelly Bean supports more than 10,000 different applications.
The free version of Magical Jelly Bean can retrieve your Windows product key from your computer’s registry and copy it to your clipboard, save it as text, or print a hard copy. The software also supports more than 300 diverse programs and features an editable configuration file, meaning you can manually add support for other keys that aren’t as easily recognizable. The program also includes several advanced tools for the more tech-savvy user — such as the ability to retrieve product keys from unbootable Windows systems — but the basic key finder will suffice for most users with little to no hassle.
Mac Product Key Finder
The Mac Product Key Finder functions in the same way as the Magical Jelly Bean’s KeyFinder for Windows, albeit on MacOS, whether you’re running the latest MacOS build or no — at least, as far back as MacOS 10.6 Snow Leopard. The freeware will scan your Mac for any software and allow you to save any associated product keys as a text, CSV, or PDF file, among a host of other formats, though it is somewhat limited compared to the premium version.
The Freeware version supports 69 programs, while the $30 Professional version now supports more than 860 different applications. It also adds support for deep scanning, command-line operation, and specifically timed backups on the local machine and across a network of Mac computers. If you’re unsure whether it’s worth it, you can try out the Professional version, but it will only reveal the first four characters of your serial keys, as in the image above.
Both versions, however, can locate product keys for your iPad, iPhone, or any other iOS device you’ve previously connected with iTunes.
A free creation from Martin Klinzmann, LicenseCrawler is a speedy way to crawl your Windows registry and retrieve all found product keys for the operating system and any compatible apps (including non-Microsoft programs). The interface is particularly useful: You can choose which computer on the network to scan, filter out programs, limit results to file-based licenses only, and much more. The program appears to cover Windows 10 (even though it’s not listed in the OS section), all the way down to Windows 7, and many related products as well. It’s also completely portable if you’re working with multiple computers.
Free PC Audit
Free PC Audit does a robust audit of both hardware and software, collecting all key information in one spot. It’s free, incredibly lightweight software, with no installation necessary if you just want to keep it handy on a flash drive for troubleshooting or product key retrieval.
The auditing program also covers a broad range of Windows systems, from Windows NT to Windows 10. It’s an excellent tool for getting a broad range of product keys from various systems and software programs. However, the information may be a little too complete for some users who don’t want to sort through a lot of extra info just to find the right product key. It’s a more professional tool that’s useful when all sorts of product ID information may be required.
Game Key Revealer
Are you looking for specific game keys that may have been on physical materials back when you bought the game, but are now lost to time? Game Key Revealer was made just for these situations: It scans the games installed on your computer and retrieves the CD-Keys and serial numbers for those games. This allows you to prove you really do own a legal copy of the game for whatever reason may come, and it’s particularly useful if you’ve downloaded a whole lot of games through the years and don’t want to dig through a bunch of old data looking for keys one by one.
The only downside is that the software is designed for older games — anything before 2014. On the other hand, you are more likely to have lost product key information for older physical media, so Revealer still keeps much of its usefulness.