You may want to recover you Windows product key for various reasons such as after an upgrade from Windows 7 or 8 to Windows 10 or after you perform a clean installation of Windows without formatting the drives so now you want to recover your product key in order for you to activate your Windows 10.
As you know, when you activate a version of Windows operating system by entering a product key, the product key is usually saved in the Registry but it can’t be easily viewed as it’s encrypted for security reasons.
There are several tools for this purpose but they can’t retrieve product keys from backup files saved in Windows.old folder meaning these tools are only good enough for live Windows system.
That said, there is a free software out there to retrieve your Windows product key from Windows.old folder, and it can be used to recover your product license key of Windows 7, Windows 8/8.1 or Windows 10. In this guide, we will use a new software called ShowKeyPlus to recover Windows product key from Windows.old folder.
Retrieve Windows 7/8/10 product key from Windows.old folder
*In addition to Windows.old folder, you can also use this method to retrieve the product key from any kind of backup that you previously created either using the native image backup tool or third-party software on your internal drive or external drive. If you have the image backup of a version of Windows, mount or extract the image file contents to a folder and then follow the given below instructions.
Step 1: Visit the link below and download the latest version of ShowKeyPlus software. It’s a free software and a portable utility.
Step 2: Extract the downloaded content to get the executable file.
Step 3: Once launched the app will show you the current product key, installed version and edition of Windows. if the Windows.old folder is located in the root of the drive where the currently running Windows is installed, it will automatically retrieve the product key from the Windows.old folder and display it as Original key.
If you have moved the Windows.old folder to a different location, ShowKeyPlus will not automatically recover the product key from Windows.old folder. In that case, click the option titled Retrieve key from backup, and then navigate to the Windows\System32\Config folder located under Windows.old folder.
Select the file named Software, and then click open button to view the product key.
For instance, if “C” is the drive where Windows is installed, then you need to navigate to C:\Windows\System32\Config folder in the ShowKeyPlus.
For those who don’t know, Registry files are saved in the Config folder and Software hive includes information about Windows operating system as well as the product key.