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Corrupted HDD can't boot to windows. Need to retrieve OS licence key as no sticker on case.

Posted on 2011-02-17
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I am unable to boot into any of the safe mode options or standard windows logon. The data is accessible when the HDD is caddied to another machine. The machine does not have a OS licence key on the case and our client can't find it. There are lost of free useful keyfinders around but none of them seem to have the option to locate the licence key on an external HDD. All they do is find the OS licence key on the main machine. I found a really useful link for retriving the key from the registry but this failed as the specific file needed is corrupted.
Links are below:
http://www.dagondesign.com/tools/windows-xp-key-decrypter/
http://www.dagondesign.com/articles/windows-xp-product-key-recovery/
Is there a free software keyfinder for finding on external HDD or drives that are connected. Or failing this one you can pay to upgrade / full package for this feature.

Ive had a look at jellybean software.

Thanks in advance.
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Question by:rutlandict
5 Comments
 
LVL 51

Accepted Solution

by:
Jackie Man earned 2000 total points
ID: 34915758
According to the advice if johnb6767, it says:-

ProduKey v1.46 - Recover lost Windows product key (CD-Key) and Office 2003/2007 product key.
http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/product_cd_key_viewer.html

File>Select Source>and either the 3rd or 4th option will suffice....

3rd option, point to the <DEAD DRIVE>:\Windows
4th, <DEAD DRIVE>:\Windows\System32\Config\SOFTWARE

Source: http://www.experts-exchange.com/OS/Microsoft_Operating_Systems/Windows/XP/Q_26791136.html

Try ProduKey to locate the cd keys that you want.
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LVL 30

Expert Comment

by:Brad Howe
ID: 34915760
You can use Majic Jelly Bean :)
Scan another or non-bootable Windows
http://www.magicaljellybean.com/keyfinder/

Just as you said, take the dead disk from the machine and plug it into a good PC.

Cheers,
Hades666
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LVL 27

Expert Comment

by:Lukasz Chmielewski
ID: 34916107
This is where the registry files are stored:
C:\WINDOWS\system32\config
And the best what you can do is to copy them to a clean xp installation hoping it would work (maybe on a virtual machine) then you can set up a working machine, which of you can retrieve your key. It is stored in DigitalProductId.
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Author Closing Comment

by:rutlandict
ID: 34916635
This worked perfectly. I just changed the source to all disks currently plugged in to your computer and it found the key immediately. Very good free and quick solution. Thanks.
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Author Comment

by:rutlandict
ID: 34916658
Thanks to the other EE comments. I will have to look into the majic jelly bean feature futher as struggled to get the key.

Thanks again!!!!!
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