I have legitimate copies of Visual Studio 2008 installed on several computers, each with different license keys. I cannot remember what key was used on each install.

Where in the registry can I find what license key was used for that PC's Visual Studio 2008 installation?

I would imagine that it is in the registry somewhere.


just run your computer and then type the word "regedit"you'll find the four basic HKLM but i thin k just use this :

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\VisualStudio\9.0\Registration\2000.0x0000\PIDKEY on my PC. not sure but just try because some of this working.

If you are using Win7, then try HKLM\Software\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\VisualStudio\9.0\Registration\2000.0x0000\PIDKEY


A couple of options listed here:

Magical Jelly Keyfinder

Magical Jelly is the best product key finder for Windows. It’s free and portable, hence you can use it without installation or modifying the Windows registry. It can be used to extract the product keys of paid software like Microsoft Office, Microsoft Visual Studio, Adobe Photoshop etc.



WinkeyFinder is another great program to find the CD keys of installed software as well as the operating system. You can use this program to

  • Find product keys of Windows XP, Vista, Windows 2003, Windows 98 and Windows ME editions
  • Find serial keys of Microsoft Office 2000, 2003 and Microsoft 2007.
  • Change or copy the volume serial number.
  • View .NET key.
  • 1
    Neither of this give you the visual studio key. – Luis Tellez Oct 19 '14 at 16:39
  • 1
    'Magical Jelly Keyfinder' is malware. – Skúli Oct 28 '14 at 13:39

You could try ProduKey from NirSoft. Its an app for listing Microsoft licence keys, however I don't think it'll work if your copy of Visual Studio was pre-pidded, i.e. it came from say an MSDN account.

  • What does pre-pidded mean? Does it mean that key was embedded right into the image or cd that was downloaded? – spong Apr 14 '10 at 14:07
  • @sunpech - that's exactly what it means. If you download an ISO from MSDN or use MSDN media the key is already set and you don't have to enter it. This is specific to Visual Studio (and some other MS products), Office Suites/Apps and Operating Systems do not come pre-pidded. – Shevek Apr 14 '10 at 14:13
  • with an embedded key, how does microsoft know then if there are multiple installs with that media? – spong Apr 14 '10 at 14:25
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    @sunpech: the one I linked to in my answer pulls pre-pidded product keys. My VS2008 is from MSDN and it found it just fine. – squillman Apr 14 '10 at 14:30
  • pre-pidded keys are exactly the same as serial keys you entered yourself. They've just been filled in for you already by Microsoft. They are generated dynamically and inserted into the ISO you download from Microsoft. So they know exactly what the key is and which MSDN account the key was issued to. – BBlake Apr 14 '10 at 15:01

If you go into regedit and browse to the following path: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\VisualStudio\9.0\Registration.

The Product Key can be found in the ProductID Registry Key.

Hope that helps!

  • Wow, this is pretty good too! I can actually check my out my other VS2010 install that I got from Dreamspark. I wonder if PIDKEY is really the key? – spong Apr 14 '10 at 14:53

I've had positive experiences with Belarc Advisor http://www.belarc.com/Programs/advisor.exe. It gives out a neat list of software installed on your pc with Keys and I generally archive this on a secure cloud so even if My pc crashes, I can still get a registered copy of all the software installed.

Today its even possible to have the entire image of your installation archived so that You get a clean PC with the set of licenses refreshed on installed anytime you want one!

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