List Windows and other software product keys with Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder
Having to reinstall Windows is always a hassle, but it can become a real issue if you can’t find your product key. Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder can help, though, by retrieving product keys for Windows and more than 300 applications, allowing you to save them in a plain text file for easy reference at some later date.
The program was easy enough to use on our test PC. Just install and launch it, and you’re immediately presented with a list of the applications and keys it had detected (which did include our Windows 7 details, despite the site saying this wasn’t supported).
Our list was a little on the short side, though, at only 4 applications. And one of those was identified incorrectly (the program incorrectly assumed we had Half-Life installed, for some reason). The reality is that Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder’s “supported application” list is rather dated; Microsoft may just have released a beta of Visual Studio 2012, for instance, but the program’s support stops at VS 2008.
This doesn’t necessarily mean you should ignore the Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder entirely, though, because the program does have one notable plus point: you can view and configure the applications and Registry keys it’s searching for.
Click Tools > Modify Config, and a keyfinder.cfg text file opens in Notepad with the details of every supported application (its name, and the Registry location of its product key). VMware Workstation 5.0, for instance, was represented with the following entry:
VMware Workstation 5.0|Serial=HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Vmware, Inc.\Vmware Workstation\License.ws.5.0=Serial
This was no use to us – we had Workstation 8.0 installed – but it did at least give us an idea of where to look in the Registry to find the product key, and after a moment’s exploration we added an updated line:
VMware Workstation 8.0|Serial=HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Vmware, Inc.\Vmware Workstation\License.ws.8.0.e1.201010=Serial
And Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder then correctly identified the Workstation 8.0 installation on our 64-bit Windows PC, and displayed its product key. It’s just as easy to update other applications on the list, or add new ones of your own if they store their product keys in the Registry.
Of course if you’re browsing the Registry to find your product keys anyway then it’s even easier to save them at that point, and not worry about using a key finder tool at all.
Still, if you have to support several PCs, say, then it may be useful to set up Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder to retrieve the details for all your standard applications. The program makes this relatively easy, and you can then keep it up-to-date by simply tweaking the keyfinder.cfg file when new versions appear, or you install new software.