I frequently rebuild my computer once Windows starts to reach its half-life, formatting the ‘ol hard drive and starting from scratch. Unfortunately, this typically involves a hunt for the Windows XP product key, which typically was written down on a piece of paper and subsequently misplaced. This time, however, I decided not to hunt for that sticky note. Surely, Windows XP knows the product key that was used when it was installed… right?
Apparently, it does, and there’s a little piece of free software that can find it for you. KeyFinder by Magical Jelly Bean Software can identify the product key for Windows 95, 98, ME, NT4, 2000, XP, Server 2003, Windows Vista, Office 97, Office XP, and Office 2003 — on the local computer or on a remote computer (provided you have appropriate security permissions). Very impressive.