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Retrieve Windows 7 licence key from corrupted hard drive

Hi, I have a Dell Inspiron 1545 with a damaged hard drive which I am replacing.  The owner cannot find a system disk, the recovery partition shows as 0 bytes but I can access the system folders using a USB bridge.  On top of that, the laptop does not have a windows sticker attached.
I have tried Magicjellybean and Spotmau but these only retrieve from the current system or from a running network device.

Does anyone know if there is a way of extracting the key?  
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digibyte86
Asked:
digibyte86
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2 Solutions
 
Rob KnightConsultantCommented:
Hi,

If there is no Windows Sticker on the laptop and it's not available, then surely questions have to be raised as to whether it is properly licenced?

Why don't you buy a  Dell  Inspiron 1545 laptop chassis (i.e. plastics) c/w Windows sticker from eBay together with the Windows recovery DVD?

Regards,


Rob.
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Rob KnightConsultantCommented:
Hi,

Alternatively, buy a new Windows installation and then put it down to experience - at least you'll have a COA and be properly licenced?

Regards,


RobMobility.
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schwabdaleCommented:
You could download a Live CD (Linux). I think they have product key finders on there. Just boot off the cd and run the tool against the hard drive.
http://www.ubcd4win.com/faq.htm

Around the bottom of the page it says keyfinder.
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schwabdaleCommented:
Sorry, top of the page
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schwabdaleCommented:
Here's a list of the tools that come with the download
http://www.ubcd4win.com/contents.htm
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PowerEdgeTechIT ConsultantCommented:
If this is the installation from the factory, then even if you are able to extract the key from that installation, it will not be the same as the key that should be on the computer.  At the factory, the PC's are built using a generic auto/self-activating key belonging to Dell.  The customer's actual license is the COA.  Check under the battery in the battery compartment for the actual Product Key/COA.
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crash2000Commented:
Have you tried taking the battery out?
Dell often put the sticker under there.

Mark
http://www.aylesburylaptoprepairs.co.uk
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digibyte86Author Commented:
Two correct answers  and I have learnt something about Dell laptops and stickers hidden away on batteries.  I was able to successfully complete and activate the re-installation.  Thank you for your help!
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crash2000Commented:
Glad to help.
It took me a while to learn that one too.

Mark
http://www.aylesburylaptoprepairs.co.uk
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PowerEdgeTechIT ConsultantCommented:
"Dell laptops and stickers hidden away on batteries"

It is a common problem on laptops for the sticker to wear off and become unreadable ... I guess this was Dell's answer :)
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