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What is the best/proper way to manage product keys in use?

    Question

  • Hello,

    BizSpark partner

    My questions are below.  These questions arose because I wanted to install software for which product keys were supplied, but I realized I wasn't sure which keys had been previously used.  I figured I would simply look at the installed product for its key; after searching online it seems that is not possible and I think I understand why, but would like confirmation of my understanding or correction to my understanding if I don't have it right.

    As such, I have 2 questions (please note there are follow up questions in each question):

    1) Are product keys not available for viewing on the PC where the software is installed?  Is this to protect against software piracy?

    2) What is the best way to manage software installation to ensure we are staying within our license limits?  Do we have to keep manual records every time we install a software application?  Or is there a program that can be used to gather and total up the software in use with it's product keys?

    I'm using both Windows 8 and Windows 7 machines.

    If this is the wrong forum, please advise where best to ask these type of questions.  The answers.microsoft site indicated it was beyond their scope.

    Thanks.

    Best Regards,

    Alan

    Wednesday, October 01, 2014 10:19 PM

Answers

All replies

  • question 1 belong to the windows installation/activation forum at answers.microsoft.com

    question 2 is better asked in some technet forum, but I am not sure where. I am moving this to the where is the forum for forum to get more feedback. This question surely does not belong to MSDN.



    Visual C++ MVP


    Wednesday, October 01, 2014 11:08 PM
    Moderator
  • These tools may help.

    http://www.microsoft.com/sam/en/ca/invtools.aspx

    There are also tools to recover product keys from already installed software.

    http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/product_cd_key_viewer.html

     You can also contact them here for more info.

    http://www.microsoft.com/licensing/existing-customers/community.aspx

     

     

     


    Regards, Dave Patrick ....
    Microsoft Certified Professional
    Microsoft MVP [Windows]

    Disclaimer: This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties or guarantees , and confers no rights.


    Thursday, October 02, 2014 12:46 AM
    Moderator
  • Hi Patrick,

    Thanks so much.  Your link to the SAM website was terrific.  Obviously I will have to study it, but a quick scan tells me you've answered a question I've asked many people about over several years without getting this website, and clearly this is the place to begin.  Can't thank you enough.

    If you don't mind, was I correct in assuming the reason product keys are not readily discoverable is for the purpose of managing software piracy, or is it really some other reason?

    FYI, I will link to this post from my posted question on the answers.microsoft site in case someone with the same question lands on my post there.

    Best Regards,

    Alan

    Thursday, October 02, 2014 1:54 AM
  • You're welcome, glad to have been able to help. You're probably correct about the piracy of software.

     

     


    Regards, Dave Patrick ....
    Microsoft Certified Professional
    Microsoft MVP [Windows]

    Disclaimer: This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties or guarantees , and confers no rights.

    Thursday, October 02, 2014 11:12 AM
    Moderator