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How to protect and/or hide product key on a desktop?

navigator010897
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Last Modified: 2013-12-04
Hi.

We've run into an interesting situation - is there a way to protect / hide / encrypt a product key on XP Pro SP2?  Basically, what I want to do is prevent someone from downloading a little program to extract the product key from an installed system.  I'm just not sure how to do it, or if it can even be done.

Any help and/or suggestions would be most appreciated.  
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CERTIFIED EXPERT
Distinguished Expert 2019
Commented:
I bet this can only be done with admin rights. Try to run rockxp for example without admin rights, it will fail.
This is the same for hashed passwords.

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Commented:
Like McKnife said. if you give the user non admin rights they wont' be able to do this


Giving users non admin rights is best practice, it the case that users need access to certain things. It is recommended that you enable group policy and set the permissions to the things they needs.

Always work with computers locked down, and unlock the things you need

Never work with computers unlocked, and start locking it down

Meaning non-admin and admin rights.

Along with key extraction there are several other things that the user with admin can do.

Install a sniffer on the networ, extract passwors from the machine, get ALL product keys for the computer, install keyloggers, viruses, spyware......the list goes on

I would recommened like McKnife said that do not give the users admin rights.

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Commented:
In most areas of the network, that is how we normally do it.  The problem is, in this particular classroom setting, the students are studying for network certification.  So, due to the rights they require to be able to do some of the labs, this is not necissarily an option.  

Is there another way to prevent the product id from being obtained?
Commented:
For classrooms i tend to setup virtual PC's with 180 Day eval license.

Virtual PC is now free

But to answer your questions, no. There are plenty of tools that allow you to extract the already encrypted key.
CERTIFIED EXPERT
Distinguished Expert 2019

Commented:
It is stored encrypted in
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\DigitalProductId
You could turn on auiting on that registry branch.
Another way would be to delete that key (after saving it). But some applications might need it, at least the wga check.
Forced accept.

Computer101
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