ITAMChannel is a hub of coverage for all the latest news and views within the IT Asset Management Industry

Best product key finders: How to find that missing software license for free

SHARE
,

Product key, 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, typically requiring you to be placed on hold 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 — just download and click. 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

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 circuit board, 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.

Download now for Windows

The Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder

The Magical Jelly Bean’s Keyfinder is another great piece of shareware, however, you’ll 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 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.

Download now for Windows

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 High Sierra build or no. 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.

The biggest drawback to the software is it is severely out of date. It hasn’t had a substantial refresh in several years, but it remains one of the only key finders available exclusively for Apple products. It can also locate product keys for your iPad, iPhone, or any other iOS device you’ve previously connected with iTunes. The premium version of the program ($30) will allow you to scan your Time Machine backups and expands the limited number of available keys the freeware version supports to nearly 400. If the Windows-only options are out of reach, Mac Product Key Finder is the next best thing.

Download now for MacOS
License Crawler

NirSoft’s License Crawler isn’t the most compatible key finder on our roundup, but it is one of the most portable. The barebones application will scan your computer’s registry for Windows product keys as well as Nero, Microsoft Office, and a few other notable pieces of software. Although the product is quicker than Googling serial numbers yourself, the finder’s key registry is fairly limited and occasionally produces inaccurate product keys that it claims are correct. It’s also pretty useless if the software in question doesn’t store its product key in the Windows registry. However, the application is ideal for a USB drive, is compatible with almost all versions of Windows, and produces a complex report that can be saved as a text document for later viewing.

Download now for Windows
Win Keyfinder

Win Keyfinder is another great option for those looking to locate missing product keys. The software is similar to Belarc Advisor in that it benefits from a small footprint — the ZIP file should download in just a few seconds and will take up very little room on your computer. You don’t have to install an actual program, either, as it can run using this single file. Once it locates your specific product key, the information will be displayed for you to copy, save, print, and even encrypt if you choose to do so. You can also change the product key and owner ID information at this juncture as well, and the software will identify keys for operating systems going all the way back to Windows 98. Win Keyfinder will also find keys for a swath of Microsoft Office iterations, including 97, 2000 SP2, XP, 2003, 2007, and 2010.

Download now for Windows