There are many backup software on the market and some of them does a really good job in making sure that there is an exact copy of the important files available at the backup drive. Although backing up of files is important, many people forget to backup the Windows product key or third party software license that is installed on their computer. When their computer crashes and had to reinstall everything from scratch, they had to go through the trouble of searching for the license number to activate the software that they’ve purchased. If the license key are misplaced and forgotten, they’d have to contact the software support team and provide them with proof of purchase so that they can reissue the license.
The problem is software licenses aren’t stored in one standard location where you can just copy the whole folder to backup and then paste it back to reactivate all the software. They are stored all over the place either in a form of an external file or a registry key. Fortunately we found 10 software that can scan your computer and recover the lost or forgotten product key licenses so you can back it up in case you need to reactivate them again. Computer technicians can also use these software to help customers recover their software license numbers from non-bootable drive.
LicenseCrawler is a portable license recovery tool that is free for private use. It scans the registry area on local and remote computers located at the same network for available serial numbers for Windows, Office and third party applications. The amount of software license that LicenseCrawler can detect is unknown because there is no such information being published at their website or program. Since it is free, you can run it and cross check if it is able to reveal the license for the shareware installed on your computer. Works on all versions of Windows including both 32-bit and 64-bit.
2. MSKeyViewer Plus
MSKeyViewer Plus is free and portable. Although the name of this tool sounded like it can only view Microsoft key, but it also support Office and third party applications as well. To view the supported applications, run the program, click the About button and followed by clicking the Supported Products button. The list of supported product seems a bit outdated because this program itself was last updated nearly 2 years ago.
3. Product Key Finder
Product Key Finder is free but take note of the adware installation when installing this program. It is a very simple program that claims to support over 200 programs but without a detailed listings. Running the program will instantly list all the license number and allows you to backup to a CSV file by clicking the Save button. Only support 32-bit Windows operating system.
4. Softkey Revealer
Softkey Revealer is free and portable program that is able to support retrieving licenses from a huge list of software which can be found on this page. Other than just depending on the signature that they created, it also seems to list keys with the value username, password, user and etc. The program is very small in size at only 200KB in size and even comes with additional tools to decrypt Adobe encrypted key, removing content advisor password and changing the current Windows key.
5. Keyfinder Thing
Keyfinder Thing is probably one of the most popular free tool to help you recover product keys from your computer. It supports a total of 90 software titles which can be viewed from the View > Software List. You can save the results from the File menu. Take note of the installation of adware during setup.
6. Magic Keyfinder 2012
Magic Keyfinder 2012 is actually a shareware but the you can use it for free with a huge limitation where only the first 10 digits of the supported product keys are displayed. The actual amount of supported software are unknown. Other than using their database signature, you can also use the deep scan where it detects a certain keywords and determine that it is a possible license key. During testing, only 5 digits from our Windows 7 product keys are being displayed.
7. Product Key Viewer
Product Key Viewer is a shareware that supports retrieving license key over 1000 applications from your computer. Only the Pro and Tech version will report activation keys for third party applications. The Lite version will only locate the Windows and Office product keys. You can test Product Key Viewer to identify what software is being identified on your computer for free except the data are being partially hidden.
8. Product Key Finder by Top Password
The name of this software is exactly the same as the one listed under number 3 except this is a shareware that cost $17.95 and developed under a different company called Top Password. The amount of supported software is unknown but the official webpage did mention Windows, Office, SQL Server, Exchange Server, Visual Studio, VMWare, Adobe and many other products. The results are displayed instantly upon scanning. It supports scanning the current system, remote system or even on non-booting systems. Works on both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows.
9. Product Key Explorer
Product Key Explorer is a shareware that cost $29.50 that supports more than 4000 software and games as well. You can view the complete list of supported products at this page. You can scan both local and remote computers with the built-in option to use a different login credentials. The results can be saved to an external file or a registry file.
10. Recover Keys
Recover Keys is developed by the same company as KeyFinder Thing except that this is their shareware version that supports over 3000 software titles including games. It cost $24.95 to unlock the program or else it will only show the first 4 characters of the license number. It also comes with advanced features to scan multiple computers through IP range or manually selecting the computers that is available on the network.
After testing the 10 product key recovery software above, the software that stood out in the tests are LicenseCrawler and Recover Keys. Both of this tool managed to retrieve additional licenses that weren’t detected on the other 8. Although some of the software claims to support recovering license keys from more than a few thousands software, it is possible that the software installed on your computer is not in the list. You can definitely make a request by contact them to include it in their database.