I have a laptop that came with Windows 7 Home Premium pre-installed. But I recently had to format it. I need to enter the product key again but the sticker on the laptop is not readable now as it is quite old now. I havent written the product anywhere but before formatting, I had copied all the files of the hard disk to my PC. Is there a way out to retrieve the product key from those files? There was no recovery disc made.
An option is to call Microsoft (I hear the collective groans already). If I remember correctly, you can install Windows without putting in a product key which will let you use it for 30 days. Sometime during the installation process you should have the option to skip the key, then after the installation it will revisit this issue and give you options like activate online or call Microsoft customer service (and thoughtfully provide you with the phone number as well). Since you have a registered copy of windows from when you bought the laptop (this is a valid copy, right?), it shouldn't be too painful to call them and have them validate your version of Windows. I've done it before and it wasn't that bad.