How to Find the Product Key in Windows XP Professional

Written by james dalton
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How to Find the Product Key in Windows XP Professional
Use software to recover the product key instead of searching for packaging. (Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

The Microsoft Windows XP product key is printed on the product packaging. It is required to reinstall the operating system. If the product packaging is misplaced, the reinstall cannot proceed. Luckily, Windows XP stores the original product key in the system registry. Retrieving the encrypted key requires special software. Many product key recovery utilities are free. Download one, rather than spending time looking for the lost packaging.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Windows XP computer

Show MoreHide


  1. 1

    Download Product Key Finder from The link is a computer screen icon, in the "Download" section.

  2. 2

    Open Product Key Finder. It searches the registry for product keys of installed software, and presents them in an alphabetical list.

  3. 3

    Locate "Microsoft Windows XP Professional" or "Microsoft Windows XP Home." Write down the product key, listed directly to the right.

  4. 4

    Store the product key in an accessible location. For example, e-mail the key to a personal web-based e-mail account. If the computer cannot be started the next time a reinstall is required, retrieving the key will be much more difficult.

  5. 5

    Reinstall Windows XP using the product key.

Tips and warnings

  • WinGuggle by Unlock For Us, ProduKey by NirSoft and Keyfinder Thing by Matt Chugg are examples of the many other free utilities available for download.
  • Using the recovered product key to install Windows XP on another computer may be a violation of the licensing agreement. As of April 2011, Service Pack 3 is the only version of Windows XP supported by Microsoft.

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