I'm preparing to upgrade to Win 7 and am trying to ensure that I will be able to reinstall all the relevant applications. Since most applications require product keys, I'm curious if the installation process for Win 7 preserves those keys in any way (say for Office 2007,...) or do I have to locate and reenter every key?

Second, for applications that require a key and then check with their home server (Norton Internet Security, for example). Even if I have the key, how do I convince the server that I'm not trying to reuse an application that has a single use license?

  • 2
    Not really programming related... Next time, why not try superuser.com ?
    – Shog9
    Oct 30 '09 at 20:29
  • this doesnt answer your question, but considering you're installing apps you may try ninite.com
    – kpoehls
    Oct 31 '09 at 2:14

Most software packages can either recognize the computer again or give you some leeway in reinstalling. Sometimes they may ask you to call in to verify or reset your install. Fear not if you are a legit user.


Belarc Advisor can give you product keys for all the software on your machine.

As Clifford the Red said, as long as you can prove you bought it the company will help you get registered if online registration fails.


It depends on what operating system you are installing from. Either way, there is no way to preserve your current application installs though. Using Windows Easy Transfer (Vista) will make a list for you of applications you previously had installed to make this process easier though, they even suggest other programs you may want to download.

If you are coming from XP, easy transfer isn't available, you'll want to make note (or print screen) applications you currently have installed in the Start menu and Add/Remove programs.

As far as keys go, it depends on how the developer implemented the registration. If it's a single install license, and you've already registered online, you're out of luck. If it's a device based license, it will scan your hardware and you can reinstall, since the hardware configuration hasn't changed with the new OS the registration can confirm you are still using the same computer. For extracting keys such as Office, take a look at Magic Jellybean Keyfinder.


Thanks for the responses. I am a legit user, so that wasn't the worry. I would prefer to minimize the hassle though. I have chatted with MS support and surprisingly did not get a clear answer (but another phone number) on saving Office 2007 whose keys I have, but it was an upgrade on top of Office 2003 which was legit, but I don't have the key now.

Hopefully, the fact that I'm on the same hardware will help.

THanks again, --Don

  • Associate your Stack Overflow and Super User accounts to regain ownership of the question.
    – ChrisF
    Oct 31 '09 at 22:17

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