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Where can I obtain a Product Key Code for Windows 98?

Posted on 2003-02-23
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Last Modified: 2013-12-28
Windows 98 came preinstalled on my Compaq Presario 5240 computer?  I have already been to Compaq for the keycode and they won't give it meand they don't give any manuals with win98.  I don't know where or whom to turn to for this problem.  I am trying to reinstall the software that came with the computer and the company has now merged with HP and it seems no one knows what I should do. I am truly FRustrated.  Please Help?
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Question by:mistyholly
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16 Comments
 
LVL 1

Expert Comment

by:vux984
ID: 8002375
I assume you have the Compaq Presario, and can read the serial number.  And I assume you have the windows 98 cd it came with.

1) Phone compaq again and push them until they resolve the problem. You've got the serial number of the computer, that should be sufficient.

If the CD has any Compaq or Presario logos on it then don't let  hp/compaq blow you off.  The thing about  most OEM branded versions of windows is that the license is "attached" to the PC its sold with, and Compaq almost certainly has record of it.

2) You can also call Microsoft and see what they have to say. After all ultimately its really there product that you can't install. They might also be willing to help if the CD *doesn't* have any oem branding on it. But generally you do have to provide some sort of proof of purchase (a receipt is gold)

3) [suggestion removed by Banath] Is this piracy? Not really if you actually do own windows 98.
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LVL 41

Accepted Solution

by:
stevenlewis earned 340 total points
ID: 8002865
this link tells you where to look in your registry for the keys
http://www.internetguideandmore.com/finding_lost_cd_keys_in_your_reg.htm

We can't provide keys or links to keys, as this violates the member agreement
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Expert Comment

by:Banath
ID: 8002909
vux984- I have removed your third suggestion as it is not legal. You may only use a key which has been issued by a party who is licensed by Microsoft to do so (Compaq, for example).

Experts - do not provide keys or links to them! Your account will be suspended if you do.

Banath
EE Moderator
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LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:bjorndahlen
ID: 8003097
Banath - is providing the registry key where this
information recides against policy ? If so why ?
Just so I know for future reference.
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LVL 41

Expert Comment

by:stevenlewis
ID: 8003155
So far, it has not been, because this info could only be put there during a licensed install of the product
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Expert Comment

by:Banath
ID: 8003206
Good question. As far as I understand, the registry doesn't contain the CD-Key, only the Product ID (which is no good during the install process). But, in case I'm wrong and it does (or will in the future)...

The asker's key, which is stored in his registry, is his legally obtained key (providing that his copy of Windows is legal, of course). There's no reason he shouldn't be informed how to retrieve and use it, same as telling him to look for a sticker on the bottom of the box. (my personal opinion is that searching the registry cannot be considered cracking, since Microsoft tell you to locate and modify registery keys in various Knowledgebase articles)

What we try to do here is not to provide methods which may allow people to pirate software- we forbid providing keys, hyperlinks and methods allowing someone to obtain one without having a license.
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LVL 41

Expert Comment

by:stevenlewis
ID: 8003276
Banath check out the link I provided, the cd keys are in there :~)
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LVL 10

Expert Comment

by:LRI41
ID: 8004453
[Comment removed by Banath]
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LVL 1

Expert Comment

by:vux984
ID: 8005122
Banath,
 
I regret that you found my suggestion unacceptable, and will refrain from posting suggestions of that nature in the future, in the spirit of being a "model citizen".  However to be fair I neither posted a key, nor a link to one, nor even a link to a location where one might be obtained. So any sanctions taken against me would be in appropriate.

Furthermore, a licensee has the legal right to use licenses they legally obtained. The "installation key" is not legally bound to a particular license; in otherwords, the license is an intangible right conferred upon its owner at the time of purchase. The printed certificate, product key, and even cd media do not constitute a license, merely proof of ownership (just as a bank statement is not actually money, merely a record that you have money). Losing any of these does not constitute loss of the license (or money), and all are *usually* replaceable.

However corporations often choose to make it difficult, and many actually are even unable to replace media, and/or license keys after the product has been discontinued even if you can demonstrate that you are a licensed owner. In cases like this in particular, what alternative to using a borrowed key or media to make use of your own license is there? Registry checkers are great if the software is installed and in use, but after a hard disk crash or a nasty virus....

Anyways, as I said in my original post persisting with Compaq and Microsoft is the best and first course of action, but in the event that is fruitless, try again, and again, and again. But when all is said and done I would prefer to see a legal licensee use a borrowed key (even in the interim while he fights with Compaq) than be coerced into purchasing a new one, or worse as Windows 98 is no longer in production: coerced into an unnecessary upgrade. (I say upgrade... but perhaps I should say full version purchase, as from a certain perspective, they don't have a previous version of windows to upgrade from anymore...)

However, as I said at the beginning of this post, I will refrain from making suggestions of this nature in the future.
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LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:bjorndahlen
ID: 8005124
OK, Banath I was just confused by stevenlewis giving
a reference rather than the key...
Mistyholly, start regedit and find
HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion

The product key is under the name
ProductKey (imagine that..:-)
which I'm sure is listed under the reference
stevenlewis already gave you.
0
 

Expert Comment

by:Banath
ID: 8005204
mistyholly- My apologies for the entire thread. I'm sorry to say it is a necessity to provide and maintain a professional site.

vux984 - Your third suggestion was the only one I didn't think was appropriate. It is a method which could lead to helping piracy and for that reason I removed it. It was my opinion that sanctions are NOT necessary as a result of your comment. LRI41, on the other hand is very likely to have a nice chat with us for his comment.

stevenlewis- I couldn't find that. I only noticed the part where the author explains why he can't provide CDKeys because it is illegal. Please email me at BanathMod@netscape.net to explain where on the page it provides that.

I can't understand how a twenty-digit sequence can be turned into a 25-character key. If someone wants to explain why giving the asker the "Product ID" (the thing found in the registry, but won't let you install the OS) helps in the question of acquiring the "CD Key", I'd personally like to understand the matter better and would welcome an email to the above address.

I hope this is my final post in this question. I don't want this to turn into a debate. Comments are welcome in Expert Input if you believe they could help the site.

And for the last time:
EXPERTS - DO NOT PROVIDE KEYS OR LINKS TO THEM!!! EVER!!!
EXPERTS - DO NOT PROVIDE KEYS OR LINKS TO THEM!!! EVER!!!
EXPERTS - DO NOT PROVIDE KEYS OR LINKS TO THEM!!! EVER!!!

Banath
EE Moderator
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LVL 10

Expert Comment

by:LRI41
ID: 8005300
I AM SORRY I DON'T UNDERSTAND THIS POSITION AT ALL!!!!
IF  SOMEONE HAD LOST THE KEYCODE AND THAT IT VERY EASY
TO DO, THEY CERTAINLY HAVE A RIGHT TO FIND IT ON
THEIR COMPUTER AND WOULD NOT HAVE TO ASK
MICROSOFT , THE FBI OR THE SUPREME COURT OR EVEN
THE EE MODERATOR PERMISSIION TO DO SO.  ALL
STEVE LEWIS DID WAS TELL A PERSON HOW THEY COULD
FIND THAT INFORMATION OF THEIR OWN COMPUTER AND ALL
I DID WAS GIVE THEM A PROGRAM WHICH WOULD DO THE SAME
THING.  NEITHER ANSWER WOULD GIVE ANYONE INFORMATION
TO PIRATE ANYTHING.  STUPID!!!! STUPID!!!! STUPIT
RULING!!!!!!!
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LVL 56

Expert Comment

by:andyalder
ID: 8007276
Compaq do not provide a win98 CD but they do provide a CD with win98 on it. The recovery CD and quick restore CD will set the machine as it came out of the factory with the OS ready to install without a product key being required. These CDs only work for the specific machine type so there's no way to steal the OS to put on another computer.

GO to http://qrcons.orderz.com/page1.asp and buy the CDs if you haven't got them, you will only have to pay a nominal handling charge and not have to pay the license cost since.

If the D: partition is OK then the recovery CD can be used (D: has a compaq version of the license key on it in factory.pqi), if the hard disk has been replaced the quick restore CD will be required since this writes factory.pqi on d:
0
 

Expert Comment

by:ComputaFixxa
ID: 11993711
To those who have asserted that finding the product key code after you can no longer access Windows (or for that matter 'regedit')- relax, there is hope after all.  

You can still crudely access the registry, or at least some of the information thereof from accessing the hidden system file "system.dat" in the WINDOWS directory.  Simply start the computer, press F8 to get to a command prompt (usually option 5?), then type "cd windows" at the 'c:\' prompt.  You can then use the DOS 'Find' command using the following syntax:

find /i "productkey" system.dat

Notice the "/i" option removes case sensitivity, and also notice that you can specify the full location of the system.dat file from any directory and run the same command, i.e., from just the 'c:\' prompt-

find /i "productkey" c:\windows\system.dat

(assuming your WINDOWS directory is found in the typical 'c:\windows')

All of the lines within that file containing your product key for Windows 98 (or 95 if that's your OS, it should work) will be displayed, along with the key itself.

You should also note that the Product KEY is the useful number, the Product ID is the potentially useless number, which you can easily find by accessing properties of "My Computer" (using advanced right-click technology!).  

I would also like to confirm (As the StevenLewis website link asserted) that the Product Key CAN be found using the registry search, or by going to the registry key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\CurrentVersion


Good luck out there!  :)
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