I bought a laptop many years ago with Windows 7 installed and didn't get an install CD. My hard drive died and half the sticker on the back has been ripped off (I can only read the first dozen characters of the key).

I got the repair guy to install Windows 7 without key.

However, the first thing I did when I originally bought the laptop was make a full backup, which I have just found (7 DVDs).

I don't have another computer to restore the backup to.

Can I find the licence key somewhere on the DVDs?

  • 2
    If you don't find another solution, you could install the backup into a virtual machine. – Aganju Jun 24 '16 at 13:49
  • @Aganju I will try that if there isn't a more direct way – Bohemian Jun 24 '16 at 13:53

Try using Nirsoft's Produkey - this free software claims to be able to recover keys from the Windows directory on an attached disk. If the data on the DVDs is compressed you might have to find a way to uncompress it before Produkey can recovery the license key from the uncompressed Windows directory.


Unfortunately you will have to restore that backup on some other computer and access the registry to find the product key. As aganju said, you can install the backup to a VM (if you know how to do it and your computer is powerful enough). The product key can be found using these steps.

  • link-only answers are not really helpful. You feel the link is important enough to provide, but not important enough, to quote the relevant and place said information in your answer? – Ramhound Jun 24 '16 at 17:45
  • Please quote the essential parts of the answer from the reference link(s), as the answer can become invalid if the linked page(s) change. – DavidPostill Jul 6 '16 at 8:57

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