Recover Windows Product Key from Failed Hard Drive

By Will_m
Aug 21, 2015
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  1. Hi guys, bit of a problem. I have a machine that was running win7, a couple of weeks back I upgraded for free to win 10 but today the hard drive has failed. I don't have any record of the product key so I'm not sure how I'm going to be able to install and activate windows again.

    Is there any way of retrieving a product key from a dead drive? I've tried accessing the drive from another computer and it spins up then stops.
  2. Cobalt006

    Cobalt006 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,777   +241

    Windows 10 activates by your hardware. If you are going to reinstall windows 10 you may need to contact microsoft. If you are looking for the key for window 7 it should be on the side of the computer. If this is a retail computer.

    KeyFinder | Magical Jelly Bean This may help you with win 7 If you buy chance get the hard drive to work long enough to get your key.
    learninmypc likes this.
  3. Will_m

    Will_m TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 77

    Thats what I feared, its a self build so there's no sticker on it and I can't for the life of me find the disk or key I had, hoping its a maybe a stuck head on the HDD that I can nudge into working long enough to retrieve the key.
  4. Cobalt006

    Cobalt006 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,777   +241

    So sorry to hear this. I hope you can get the heard drive to work long enough to get your key.
  5. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 6,964   +355

    Have you ever heard of the hard drive freezer trick? It might work long enough to let you retrieve your key. Make sure you place the hard drive in a sealed plastic bag to keep out moisture.

    BTW, even though it is self built you still are supposed to put the product key sticker on the case somewhere. Needless to say that would have avoided the present situation, unless, of course, your Windows is pirated.
    learninmypc likes this.
  6. Will_m

    Will_m TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 77

    I've heard of it but was hoping to keep it as a very last resort. I made a short video of the issue here:

    I don't remember actually getting a sticker that could be removed, it was a student upgrade offer and just came as a disk in a card slip with a key printed on it but I can't seem to find this anywhere now.

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