Finding the serial number for an XP cd



Hey guys, I have Windows XP on cd, but somehow I have lost the serial number belonging to it. Is there anyway to find it out? If I have to call Microsoft, will they charge me?


there is a small program called Keyfinder, if your xp is installed, use this, you’ll get it here.


The sticker on your computer perhaps?


I don’t think there is a serial number pressed into the cd that you can extract, as Mr. Belvedere stated there should be a sticker on you PC, A quick call to Micro$oft won’t do any harm. Maybe ?


won’t they charge me money?

edit: and it is not installed…


edit: delete


You will probably have to but a new license, but i don’t know for sure, is it an original disk ?


yeah its the OEM disc that came with my new computer


Well there sould be a sticker on the side/top or back of the case with the number, if not, get in touch with the company you bought your PC from and inform them there was no sticker and tell them you need one as this is your license, What company did you buy your PC from ?.

PS, don’t tell them you lost it…!


Are you sure it’s a full disc? Usually comps bought in the shops come with a rocovery disc and not a full windows install disc. Well that’s how it is in the UK. the only exception I have seen is my friends Medion laptop, bought from Aldis, which came with an install disc.

Contact MS as some companies will give you a key if you can prove you have the original disc, for example a scan of it and send this as an attachment, some will ask you to actually send the disc to them and then they return it with a key code. I can’t comment on MS, but I jave had this experience with some software and games. You never know.

Even if they charge you it might be cheeper than buying a complete new copy of XP. This is why I now keep a hand written copy of all my key codes seperate from the discs.


Yes, but when you buy a pc here in the UK they will usually stick the license key sticker to the pc tower unit as they are usually OEM which means that copy of windows is meant to stay with that PC (non-transferable). I’m not to sure in what MESH gave me as in a full copy or restore copy of XP but the sticker is on top of the tower.

As for Micro$oft they may say to get in touch with the company they got there OEM software from, as micro$oft won’t support it. :Z


oem recovery disks generally come with the sticker on the side. microsoft will probably refer you to the OEM.

if you have purchased the computer recently, simply call the company and explain. if they wont fix the problem, have your credit card not pay them. that will cause swift action.


I think it is the full XP OEM, I got mine, and it had MESH all over the disc, but it was able to be slipstreamed to SP1 fine, and doesnt have any mention of MESH once installed (normally all the wallpapers have MESH watermarked on them).

Often companies will give you a new one if it sounds like you are telling the truth, its alot less bother, and most people will probably find it alot harder to lie to a person they are speaking to via voice. Also if it was found to be a illegal copy they have your number. So I would definatly try calling Microsoft, just make sure you get all the information about yout copy of Windows that you can.

Ben :slight_smile:


Well it’s good to know that it will be a full copy :bigsmile: , as i did wonder when i did a reinstallation that it formatted the drive for about 90 mins and when i had my Tiny PC it would only take 10 mins, bareing in mind this one now has a bigger HDD.

I think his first port of call is his PC maufacturer, but if no joy there, yes, call microsoft.



thanks for the help guys, i’ll try to call them tonight


sorry guys if I don’t introduce myself, and sorry for replying in a such old thread, but I’ve the solution for the question and maybe you’re still interested in knowing it!

well, if you have a Microsoft XP installation CD and you lost your cd-key, you must search (inside the cd) a file called “unattend.txt”…if you open it and scroll it to the end, you’ll find your cd-key.



Ahhhh… I just looked and yup, it’s there…

Now to know where it’s hidden on Vista and Win7 install discs…



First place to check for the Windows key is on the back or side of the PC case. This applies to pretty much all store bought PCs and laptops, as the manufacturer is required to attach the product key sticker to the PC as part of the OEM license agreement.

While most major PC manufacturers such as HP and Dell may have the key within the CD for automated installation, this is not the case with some less well known or generic brand PCs. All OEM CDs bought separately (e.g. as part of a home built PC) and retail Windows OS packages do not have the key located anywhere on the CD.

If you still have the Windows XP, Vista or 7 installation, even if not bootable, the freeware utility LicenseCrawler (link) will retrieve the Windows key. For a non-bootable installation, you’ll need to run utility from a boot CD, such as Bart PE, Vista PE or the command prompt on a Windows Vista/7 recovery CD. Another useful utility for retrieving keys is Jellybean Keyfinder, but it does not work with Windows 7 (at least from a quick test on my PC) and the newer version which does has since become a pay product under the new name “Recover keys”. :doh:


FYI the key is also in the unattend.txt file on a Dell WinXP reinstall CD I have for a Dell laptop, but it’s in the :User Data" area a little less than half way down the page of that file instead of at the end.