Doing a lot of tech support for our school (and my friends), I occasionally need to re-install Windows XP or Microsoft Office on a computer. Invariably, the computer owner no longer has or can find the original Windows or Office disk, therefore they don’t have the CD Key Code required by Microsoft for doing a fresh install of the software on their machine. What if there was a free software utility which could immediately show you both the Windows and Office Key Code in the present installation?
Introducing Keyfinder 1.5.1 from Magical Jelly Bean Software. Download the small zip file from their site, unzip it onto your drive or a flash drive, then double-click the keyfinder.exe to start the program (see our graphic). It works with Windows 95,98,ME, and XP, and Office XP and 2003. A newer 2.0 Beta (not quite ready for prime time) version is also available which also works with Windows Vista. Other features of Keyfinder include the ability to change your CD Key Code (still must be a legitimate code to work) and save the key Code to a text file or print it out.
While I don’t know everything about Microsoft’s Key Code program, I do know there are at least three different versions of XP Home — Retail Full, Retail Upgrade, and OEM (Compaq, Dell, etc.). Even using Keyfinder you still need to use the same version of XP as was originally used for the Key Code that Keyfinder turned up to work. In other words, if someone upgraded their Windows 98 to XP, use a Retail Upgrade disk to re-install; if it is a major manufacturer like HP or IBM with XP on it, use an OEM install disk, even if it is not labeled with that manufacturer’s name. More details are on their website.
This is not a “do all and end all” utility, and it may not always rescue you from further disaster, but it has saved me lots of work and money numerous times. Check their website for more details on uses, limitations, etc. Keyfinder is not intended to allow someone to install Windows on a computer without a legal CD Key Code, simply a utility to protect the investment someone already has in a legal copy of Windows and Office. I like it!