I reinstalled Windows today and before doing so I wrote down the product key you get from right clicking on Computer. When the installation was done, I put that key in the box to activate and apparently that's not the right key. I bought the discs like 4 years ago and I can't find them. I've tried some of those programs that look in the registry, but they don't find anything since I reinstalled. So the two questions I have are:
1. Can I find the key in windows.old?
2. Can I use this product key that I wrote down to obtain a new license key from MS for free?
Tried magicaljellybean, used windows.old as the directory and it gave me an error message. Guess I'll have to buy a new key.
Unfortunately once the OS is reinstalled the entries are wiped out so you won't be able to get them back (the key shown in windows is actually the product id code for which version of windows and not a machine specific activation code so is something different than the activation key - so you have the wrong thing) -- One suggestion is to call MS and talk to an activation service rep - Explain the entire situation and they just might give you a new key - just remain calm and polite and sometimes they will be helpful (and it never hurts to try before purchasing a new copy)
I had a similar situation years back with windows 98 and was given a new key after explaining the situation and giving them the info I did have